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Manufacturer Payments Tied to Use of More Expensive Medical Devices

Increased use of intravascular microaxial left ventricular assist devices associated with manufacturer payments to cardiologists performing PCI

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 23, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Intravascular microaxial left ventricular assist device (LVAD) manufacturer payments to cardiologists are associated with increased use of LVADs by cardiologists who perform percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), according to a research letter published online April 10 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sanket S. Dhruva, M.D., from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examined whether payments from the LVAD manufacturer to cardiologists performing PCIs were associated with any use of LVADs. The analysis included data from the Open Payments program database linked to Part B claims for a sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries to identify cardiologists (6,398) performing at least one PCI (2016 to 2018) at hospitals capable of placing both LVADs and intra-aortic balloon pumps.

The researchers found that among the 6,336 cardiologists receiving LVAD payments in individual years, 23.2 percent performed at least one LVAD, while among the 11,222 cardiologists not receiving LVAD payments, 9.5 percent performed at least one LVAD. Receipt of LVAD payments was associated with any LVAD use in the year of payment (adjusted risk ratio, 2.04), as well as in the subsequent year (adjusted risk ratio, 1.90). The highest adjusted risk ratio was seen in the highest tertile of LVAD payment values.

“It is concerning that payments from the manufacturer to cardiologists may be associated with increased use of more expensive medical devices not demonstrated to be more safe or effective,” the authors write.

Several authors reported ties to relevant organizations.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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