Cardiologist service volume, percutaneous coronary intervention and hospital level in relation to medical costs and mortality in patients with acute myocardial infarction: a nationwide study

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Background: We explore whether cardiologist service volume, hospital level and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) are associated with medical costs and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) mortality.

Methods: From the 1997–2010 Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database of the National Health Research Institute, we identified AMI patients and performed multiple regression analyses to explore the relationships among the different hospital levels and treatment factors.

Results: We identified 2942 patients with AMI in medical centers and 4325 patients with AMI in regional hospitals. Cardiologist service volume, performing PCI and medical costs per patient were higher in medical centers than in regional hospitals (P < 0.0001). However, the two hospital levels did not differ significantly in in-hospital mortality (P = 0.1557). Post hoc analysis showed significant differences in in-hospital mortality rate and in medical costs among the eight groups subdivided on the basis of hospital level, cardiologist service volume, and whether PCI was performed (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions: These results highlight the importance of encouraging hospitals to develop PCI capability and increase their cardiologist service volume after taking medical costs into account. Transferring AMI patients to hospitals with higher cardiologist service volume and PCI performed can also be very important.

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