Background: Although geographic variation in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has been recognized, the impact of evidence-based international treatment guidelines on such variation is unclear. We sought to characterize resource use and cost of initial hospitalization for AMI in 9 countries and compare the contribution of length of stay (LOS) and procedure use to cost. Methods: We applied country-specific cost estimates to data from the international AMI registry associated with the VALIANT trial. The registry includes demographic, medical history, treatment, and discharge information for 5573 patients with AMI admitted to 84 sites in 9 countries from November 1999 to June 2001. Hospitalization cost was estimated by imputed discharge diagnosis-related group code and adjusted for the LOS and procedures. Generalized linear regression was used to adjust cost by country; the contribution of LOS and procedures to cost was assessed by ordinary least squares regression. Results: Unadjusted mean cost for initial AMI hospitalization was $9993 (95% CI $9702-$10 228). After adjustment for baseline patient-level variation, the lowest average cost was $1605 (Argentina) and the highest was $9196 (United States). Length of stay explained more of the variation in cost (50.7%) than did procedure intensity (31.9%). Conclusions: International differences in the cost of AMI persist, reflecting variations in procedure use and especially LOS. Relative differences in resource costs and incentives inherent in the provision and financing of health care likely contribute to treatment and cost variation and limit the widespread adoption of international practice guidelines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine