Angioplasty without overnight hospital stay is safe and saves money

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Going home the same day after having an angioplasty not only is safe, it may save the health care system an average of more than $5,000 per person, a new study reports.

Every year, some 600,000 people in the United States undergo coronary angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure to open a narrowed heart artery. About half are so-called elective angioplasties, which are done on people with predictable but worrisome chest pain (stable angina).

The study, published online September 26 by JAMA Cardiology, followed more than 672,000 people who had elective angioplasties in 493 hospitals from 2006 to 2015. Over all, only about 4% went home the same day, but rates of same-day discharge varied widely between hospitals.

However, researchers found no higher risk of death, bleeding, or other serious complications in carefully selected people who went home the day of the procedure compared with those who stayed overnight in the hospital. That was true 30, 90, and 365 days after the angioplasty.

Today, the rate of same-day discharge after angioplasty is higher — around 22%. But more widespread use of this practice (which patients prefer) could save hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars.