A common service for dialysis patients costs about $100,000 less when delivered by an interventional radiologist rather than a surgeon, according to study published Tuesday.

More than 600,000 patients each year require life-saving hemodialysis for end-stage renal disease. And such care is a costly proposition, with $34 billion spent each year in fee-for-service Medicare, largely for creating and maintaining conduits, noted experts with the University of Colorado.

Fewer than 50% of all access conduits for dialysis remain viable for longer than three years and clinical guidelines recommend regular surveillance to guard for signs of impending failure. Interventions such as angiography, angioplasty stent placement and thrombolysis are typically performed by radiologists, surgeons or nephrologists. But it appears that interventional imaging physicians’ work in this realm costs tens of thousands less, underlining the subspecialty’s value proposition, and an opportunity to save significantly in the Medicare program, experts advised.

On average, the cost per patency year of dialysis in Medicare landed at roughly $174,000 for surgeons compared to $89,000 for nephrologists and $71,000 for radiologists.

To read more, access the article here, courtesy of the Radiology Business.