Study: Physician Choice of Cardiac Imaging Test vs. Mandated CMR Can Save More Than $300

Allowing physicians to choose a cardiac stress imaging modality for patients with lower-risk chest pain can save more than $300 compared to mandating a cardiac magnetic resonance test, according to a study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging.

Researchers compared the costs of two different stress imaging test strategies for patients with low- to intermediate-risk chest pain. In one strategy, a CMR test was required for each patient, while the other strategy allowed physicians to choose among CMR, cardiac catheterization, nuclear and coronary CT tests.

They found the median cost for patients who received a mandatory CMR test was $2,005 compared to $1,686 for patients who received the provider's chosen test. The length of stay, appropriateness of admission decisions and 30-day acute coronary syndromes did not differ between the two groups.

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