November 2, 2006—A new study of about 20,000 Veterans Affairs system patients who underwent diagnostic imaging for peripheral vascular disease between 1999 and 2004 shows significant cost savings with contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA) compared with digital subtraction angiography. The study, led by researchers at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles), also estimated that the VA system could have saved more than $13 million over the study period by utilizing CE-MRA over DSA for patients not receiving follow-up procedures within 30 days.

“We were impressed with the magnitude of cost savings available with CE-MRA in these patients,” said lead author J.W. Hay, PhD, associate professor of pharmaceutical economics and policy at USC. “In an era of cost containment, it is essential that clinicians and institutions be aware of the potential cost savings of various treatment and imaging modalities. While additional research is needed, our data show that for a substantial proportion of patients using CE-MRA as the initial imaging modality offers considerable cost savings, while providing optimum patient care.”

—Cat Vasko