ACC's CathPCI Registry Shows Safety-Net and Non–Safety-Net Hospitals Deliver Similar PCI Outcomes


August 7, 2017—The American College of Cardiology (ACC) announced the publication of research demonstrating that patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) at safety-net hospitals experienced outcomes similar to those of patients treated at non–safety-net hospitals. The study was published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC): Cardiovascular Interventions (2017;10:1475–1485).

According to the ACC, safety-net hospitals in the United States serve the most vulnerable patients, with a focus on providing quality care to patients who are low income and/or uninsured or underinsured, as well as to patients who have insurance. Notably, safety-net hospitals may have fewer resources than other hospitals. In this study. A safety-net hospital was defined as having a PCI volume of at least 10% for patients without insurance, based on the Agency of Healthcare Quality and Research definition.

The investigators used data from the ACC's National Cardiovascular Data Registry CathPCI Registry from 2009 to 2015. They analyzed data from 3,746,961 patients who underwent PCI at 282 safety-net hospitals and 1,134 non–safety-net hospitals. The results showed risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality was only marginally higher in the safety-net hospitals (at four additional patients per 1,000 cases of PCI) than in non–safety-net hospitals. Patients who went to safety-net hospitals tended to be younger, had more risk factors, and more often entered through the emergency department because of a heart attack.

In the ACC press release, the study's senior investigator, John Ambrose, MD, commented, “The patients treated at safety-net hospitals often have critical heart problems and other health issues that, in many cases, have not been adequately managed. Therefore, the fact that these hospitals are able to keep mortality rates low and achieve these outcomes when performing PCI—nearly matching non–safety-net hospitals—is quite remarkable.” Dr. Ambrose is Emeritus Chief of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco in Fresno, California (UCSF-Fresno) and Professor of Medicine at UCSF.

The study also found that both types of hospitals had similar rates of risk-adjusted bleeding and acute kidney injury, which are adverse events associated with PCI procedures. The results of the study are limited to the events that occurred while in the hospital.

“Clinical care is often complex. Because of that, it can be hard to make comparisons to understand what type of care is contributing to a positive outcome and what is not. However, with this study, we now know that the hospital itself was not a significant factor in determining how well a patient did after their PCI procedure," said Dr. Ambrose. "The similarities we found also suggested that we can use the current National Cardiovascular Data Registry risk model as a foundation for future comparisons between safety-net and non–safety-net hospitals.”

In an accompanying editorial in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, Theodore A. Bass, MD, said that in addition to being vulnerable, the patients studied frequently have little or no ability to select their access to health care institutions or medical providers based on quality outcomes (2017;10:1486–1488). He added that the study is particularly timely because of the discussion about health care legislation that has the potential to substantially affect resources for safety-net hospitals.


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Cardiac Interventions Today (ISSN 2572-5955 print and ISSN 2572-5963 online) is a publication dedicated to providing comprehensive coverage of the latest developments in technology, techniques, clinical studies, and regulatory and reimbursement issues in the field of coronary and cardiac interventions. Cardiac Interventions Today premiered in March 2007 and each edition contains a variety of topics in a flexible format, including articles covering various perspectives on current clinical topics, in-depth interviews with expert physicians, overviews of available technologies, industry news, and insights into the issues affecting today's interventional cardiology practices.