Some stroke treatments proven to reduce health care costs

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Use of mechanical thrombectomy on qualifying stroke patients could result in major savings to the healthcare economy in the United Kingdom and other western countries with a similar healthcare structure, according to a new study presented at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery 12th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, USA.

The study, Developing an Interventional Stroke Service: Improving Clinical Outcomes and Reducing Cost and Delivering Great Cost Savings Benefits to Health Economy, conducted at the University Hospital of North Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent, UK, found that mechanical thrombectomy (the use of a device to retrieve a clot from the vessel) in the treatment of stroke reduced the average stroke patient’s hospital stay to 14 days when compared to previously recorded 90 days. In addition, more than nine in 10 patients were discharged to their home as opposed to a nursing home. Using this data, the study also found the use of mechanical thrombectomy produced a net savings of £3.2 million (approximately US$5 million), or £684,000 per 100,000 populations served (approximately US$1.1 million). The study estimates that there are around 20,000 to 25,000 potential patients that could receive mechanical thrombectomy within the UK if used as a mainstream treatment for large vessel clots.

“It’s quite amazing that this treatment can make such a notable impact, both medically and economically,” said Sanjeev Nayak, the lead author of the study and a neurointerventionalist at the University Hospital of North Midlands. “Not only are we seeing patient mortality and time in the hospital reduced dramatically when treating large vessel clots with mechanical thrombectomy, but we are saving money in the process. This procedure shows strong benefit, both for eligible patients and our healthcare system as a whole.”

While the clot-busting drug known as t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator) had been the only medical therapy approved for treatment of acute stroke in the United States, the projected UK cost savings of mechanical thrombectomy treatment as reported in the study could correlate to the USA, making the treatment an even better option. In America, stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fourth cause of death. In 2010, stroke cost the USA an estimated US$54 billion, including the cost of health care services, medications and missed days of work. Additionally, strokes account for US$74 billion in health care expenditures annually for treatment due to disability.

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