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Wagner TH, Hattler B, Stock EM, Biswas K, Bhatt DL, Bakaeen FG, Gujral K, Zenati MA. Costs of Endoscopic vs Open Vein Harvesting for Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: A Secondary Analysis of the REGROUP Trial. JAMA Network Open. 2022 Jun 1; 5(6):e2217686.
IMPORTANCE: Value-based purchasing creates pressure to examine whether newer technologies and care processes, including new surgical techniques, yield any economic advantage. OBJECTIVE: To compare health care costs and utilization between participants randomized to receive endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH) or open vein harvesting (OVH) during a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedure. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This secondary economic analysis was conducted alongside the 16-site Randomized Endo-Vein Graft Prospective (REGROUP) clinical trial funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cooperative Studies Program. Adults scheduled for urgent or elective bypass involving a vein graft were eligible. The first participant was enrolled in September 2013, with most sites completing enrollment by March 2014. The last participant was enrolled in April 2017. A total of 1150 participants were randomized, with 574 participants receiving OVH and 576 receiving EVH. For this secondary analysis, cost and utilization data were extracted through September 30, 2020. Participants were linked to administrative data in the VA Corporate Data Warehouse and activity-based cost data starting with the index procedure. INTERVENTIONS: EVH vs OVH, with comparisons based on intention to treat. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Discharge costs for the index procedure as well as follow-up costs (including intended and unintended events; mean [SD] follow-up time, 33.0 [19.9] months) were analyzed, with results from different statistical models compared to test for robustness (ie, lack of variation across models). All costs represented care provided or paid by the VA, standardized to 2020 US dollars. RESULTS: Among 1150 participants, the mean (SD) age was 66.4 (6.9) years; most participants (1144 [99.5%] were male. With regard to race and ethnicity, 6 participants (0.5%) self-reported as American Indian or Alaska Native, 10 (0.9%) as Asian or Pacific Islander, 91 (7.9%) as Black, 62 (5.4%) as Hispanic, 974 (84.7%) as non-Hispanic White, and 6 (0.5%) as other race and/or ethnicity; data were missing for 1 participant (0.1%). The unadjusted mean (SD) costs for the index CABG procedure were $76?607 ($43 883) among patients who received EVH and $75?368 ($45?900) among those who received OVH, including facility costs, insurance costs, and physician-related costs (commonly referred to as provider costs in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and insurance data). No significant differences were found in follow-up costs; per 90-day follow-up period, EVH was associated with a mean (SE) added cost of $302 ($225) per patient. The results were highly robust to the statistical model. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this study, EVH was not associated with a reduction in costs for the index CABG procedure or follow-up care. Therefore, the choice to provide EVH may be based on surgeon and patient preferences. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01850082.