Purpose: To establish the appropriate number of Cardiac-CT and Cardio-MR examinations, to determine an economically justified and sustainable investment in these two technologies, for an exclusive cardiologic use. Materials and methods: From July 2013 to July 2014, through a survey in four different Italian Departments of Radiology, data on the costs of Cardiac-CT and Cardiac-MR examinations were collected. For the evaluation of the costs of examinations, it was used an analytical accounting system, considering only the direct costs (consumables, health personnel work time, equipment amortization/maintenance) and other costs (utilities, services, etc.). Indirect costs (general costs) were not assessed. It was made a simulation, assuming an exclusive use of the CT and MR equipments for Cardiac-CT and Cardiac-MR examinations, calculating the annual number necessary to arrive at the Break Even Point (BEP: the point at which cost or expenses and revenue are equal). Results: On the basis of the CT costs, in order to reach the BEP, performing only Cardiac-CT examinations, an average of 2641–2752 examinations/year is needed. The annual time commitment of the Medical Professional to ensure the number of examinations to reach the BEP is 2625–2750 h/year, equivalent to two Medical Doctors in a Cardiology Department. The recent Cardiac-CT Italian Registry, in the period January–June 2011, reports a number of examinations of 3455 patients in 47 different Centers, distributed throughout the whole national territory. With regard to MR, in order to reach the BEP, performing only Cardiac-MR examinations, an average of 2435–3123 examinations/year is needed. The annual time commitment of the Medical Professional to ensure the number of examinations to reach the BEP is 2437–3125 h/year, equivalent to two Medical Doctors in a Cardiology Department. The recent Cardiac-MR Italian Registry reports a number of examinations of 3776 patients in 40 Centers, distributed throughout the whole national territory. Conclusion: This research has shown that, only on the basis of costs, currently in Italy is anti-economic an exclusive use of CT or MR equipment for cardiac exams, unless it’s not decided, regardless of the recent guidelines and clinical indications, to submit all patients with cardiac diseases (diseases of the coronary arteries and cardiomyopathies) to Cardiac-CT and Cardiac-MR examinations. This might likely to increase both the inappropriate examinations and either health spending and in the case of CT with important repercussions, in terms of radio-exposure, subject to forensic procedures.
- Cardiac MRI
- Cost analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging