Ultrasonography guidance reduces complications and costs associated with thoracentesis procedures

Pankaj A Patel, Frank R Ernst, Candace L Gunnarsson
Journal of Clinical Ultrasound: JCU 2012, 40 (3): 135-41
PURPOSE.: We performed an analysis of hospitalizations involving thoracentesis procedures to determine whether the use of ultrasonographic (US) guidance is associated with differences in complications or hospital costs as compared with not using US guidance. METHODS.: We used the Premier hospital database to identify patients with ICD-9 coded thoracentesis in 2008. Use of US guidance was identified using CPT-4 codes. We performed univariate and multivariable analyses of cost data and adjusted for patient demographics, hospital characteristics, patient morbidity severity, and mortality. Logistic regression models were developed for pneumothorax and hemorrhage adverse events, controlling for patient demographics, morbidity severity, mortality, and hospital size. RESULTS.: Of 19,339 thoracentesis procedures, 46% were performed with US guidance. Mean total hospitalization costs were $11,786 (±$10,535) and $12,408 (±$13,157) for patients with and without US guidance, respectively (p < 0.001). Unadjusted risk of pneumothorax or hemorrhage was lower with US guidance (p = 0.019 and 0.078, respectively). Logistic regression analyses demonstrate that US is associated with a 16.3% reduction likelihood of pneumothorax (adjusted odds ratio 0.837, 95% CI: 0.73-0.96; p= 0.014), and 38.7% reduction in likelihood of hemorrhage (adjusted odds ratio 0.613, 95% CI: 0.36-1.04; p = 0.071). CONCLUSIONS.: US-guided thoracentesis is associated with lower total hospital stay costs and lower incidence of pneumothorax and hemorrhage. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Ultrasound, 2011.

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