Medicare costs for endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment in the Vascular Quality Initiative

Jesse A. Columbo, Philip P. Goodney, Barbara H. Gladders, Gregory Tsougranis, Zachary J. Wanken, Spencer W. Trooboff, Richard J. Powell, David H. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Reintervention after endovascular repair (EVR) of abdominal aortic aneurysms is common. However, the cumulative financial impact of reintervention after EVR on a national scale is poorly defined. Our objective was to describe the cost to Medicare for aneurysm treatment (EVR plus reinterventions) among a cohort of patients with known follow-up for 5 years after repair. Methods: We identified patients who underwent EVR within the Vascular Quality Initiative who were linked to their respective Medicare claims file (n = 13,995). We excluded patients who underwent EVR after September 30, 2010, and those who had incomplete Medicare coverage (n = 12,788). The remaining cohort (n = 1207) had complete follow-up until death or 5 years (Medicare data available through September 30, 2015). We then obtained and compiled the corresponding Medicare reimbursement data for the index EVR hospitalization and all subsequent reinterventions. Results: We studied 1207 Medicare patients who underwent EVR and had known follow-up for reinterventions for 5 years. The mean age was 76.2 years (±7.1 years), 21.6% of patients were female, and 91.1% of procedures were elective. The Kaplan-Meier reintervention rate at 5 years was 18%. Among patients who underwent reintervention, 154 (73.7%) had a single reintervention, 40 (19.1%) had two reinterventions, and 15 (7.2%) had three or more reinterventions. The median cost to Medicare for the index EVR hospitalization was $25,745 (interquartile range, $21,131-$28,774). The median cost for subsequent reinterventions was $22,165 (interquartile range, $17,152-$29,605). The cumulative cost to Medicare of aneurysm treatment (EVR plus reinterventions) increased in a stepwise fashion among patients who underwent multiple reinterventions, with each reintervention being similar in cost to the index EVR. Conclusions: The overall cost incurred by Medicare to reimburse for each reintervention after EVR is roughly the same as for the initial procedure itself, meaning that Medicare cost projections would be greater than $100,000 for any individual who undergoes an EVR with three reinterventions. The long-term financial impact of EVR must be considered by surgeons, patients, and healthcare systems alike as these cumulative costs may hinder the fiscal viability of an EVR-first therapeutic approach and highlight the need for judicious patient selection paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1061
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Volume73
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair
  • Cost to Medicare
  • EVAR
  • EVR
  • Medicare reimbursement
  • Reintervention

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