Discharging Patients After Elective PCI

Among Medicare recipients, PCI is one of the most commonly performed cardiac procedures in the United States, with more than 1 million procedures being performed each year. Research has shown that the risks associated with PCI are highest within the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. Fortunately, both short- and long-term outcomes after PCI have improved substantially over the years because of the evolution of devices, technology, and pharmacotherapy. Despite recent advances, patients are usually observed overnight in the hospital after elective PCI to monitor for complications, sometimes in short-stay units and other times on traditional nursing floors as inpatients. This practice occurs even though some studies suggest that these patients can be discharged home safely on the same day of PCI without the need for overnight observation. The potential benefits of same-day discharge of patients include the elimination of an overnight hospital stay for patients, increased bed availability for the hospital, and cost savings. New Data on Discharge of PCI Patients Little is known about how often patients are discharged home the same day as their PCI. To shed light on the matter, my colleagues and I conducted a study using data from more than 107,000 patients aged 65 and older from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry CathPCI Registry and linked it with CMS claims data. Patients were either discharged the same day as their procedure or 24 or more hours after it. The investigation, published in the October 5, 2011 JAMA, examined trends in death or rehospitalization occurring within 2 days and by 30 days after PCI. “Same-day discharge was rarely implemented in low-risk Medicare...