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 - health_costs

An accountable care organization (ACO) pilot failed to see reductions in discretionary spending for cardiovascular nonessentials, researchers found. The study published online Oct. 20 in Circulation noted that care did not diminish for those patients for whom procedures were essential, however. 

 - money, healthcare costs

Patient costs can be as much as 20 percent higher in multihospital systems as opposed to physician-owned, physician-run organizations, a study published in the Oct. 22/29 issue of JAMA found. These findings contradict assumptions that larger organizations would be able to leverage size and integrated services for better pricing. 

 - heart

Transcatheter mitral valve implantation looks like the next frontier in treatments for patients who are at high risk for surgical valve repair or replacement. In a first-in-man report, physicians demonstrated that a transapical approach is technically feasible and potentially safe.

 - electrophysiology, ICD, pacemaker

Some patients treated with cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillators (CRT-Ds) may qualify for pacemaker mode. After long-term improvements were seen with some patients, researchers posited that when left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) normalizes and it’s time to change the batteries, it may also be time to flip the switch from D to P.

 - Chart trending down

Initiating a radiation safety protocol in their congenital heart center reduced the cumulative radiation dose in patients undergoing catheterizations by 61 percent, cardiologists reported in the November issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.