New technologies heat up competition for cardiac dollars

Technology reducing open-heart operations–and causing downturns in hospital revenues.: Several hospitals in the Nashville area are considering layoffs because competing hospitals are using new technologies to make angioplasty and stenting more effective. One technology involves a pair of 1000-pound “magnets to guide the placement of a catheter into patients’ hearts. [The surgeon] uses a joystick to control the catheter once it is inserted into the leg of a patient…'”

The other technologies include robotic surgery (done remotely by the surgeon) and improved diagnostic procedures (use CT scanning instead of invasive catheterizations). As more and more hospitals establish cardiac centers, this trend will continue. Technology will give baby boomers hitting the heart disease age much better options…and cracking your sternum will become a thing of the past.

None too soon, I say.