Factors such as geographic location, a hospital's procedural volume or a patient's insurance type have major effects on the type of stent treatment patients receive, according to a recent study from the Mayo Clinic.
Drug-eluting stents are "the best technology available to relieve blocked blood flow to the heart," but patients are more likely to receive these devices due to the above factors than because of their medical conditions, the study said.
"In medicine, we like to think that clinical factors matter most in determining healthcare," lead investigator Kirsten Hall Long said. "But what our study found questions this notion."
"Not only did we find that patients who had managed care, or fee-for-service insurance, were much more likely to have a drug-eluting stent than patients covered by a government payer, we found that certain characteristics of the hospital itself were very strongly associated with the likelihood of receiving a drug-eluting stent, such as its location or its procedural volume," she said.
( http://www.fdanews.com/ddl/34_15/ )