Cost of Thoracotomy Approach: An Analysis of the LATERAL Trial

Nahush A. Mokadam*, Edwin McGee, Georg Wieselthaler, Duc Thinh Pham, Stephen H. Bailey, G. Victor Pretorius, Theodore J. Boeve, Eleni Ismyrloglou, Martin Strueber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Less invasive techniques for left ventricular assist device implantation have been increasingly prevalent over past years and have been associated with improved clinical outcomes. The procedural economic impact of these techniques remains unknown. We sought to study and report economic outcomes associated with the thoracotomy implantation approach. Methods: The LATERAL clinical trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of the thoracotomy approach for implantation of the HeartWare centrifugal-flow ventricular assist device system (HVAD). We collected UB-04 forms in parallel to the trial, allowing analysis of index hospitalization costs. All charges were converted to costs using hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratios and were subsequently compared with Medicare cost data for the same period (2015-2016). Because thoracotomy implants were off-label for all left ventricular assist devices during that period, the Medicare cohort was assumed to consist predominately of traditional sternotomy patients. Results: Thoracotomy patients demonstrated decreased costs compared with sternotomy patients during the index hospitalization. Mean total index hospitalization costs for thoracotomy were $204,107 per patient, corresponding to 21.6% reduction (P < .001) and $56,385 savings per procedure compared with sternotomy. Across almost all cost categories, thoracotomy implants were less costly. Conclusions: In LATERAL, a clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of the thoracotomy approach for HVAD, costs were lower than those reported in Medicare patient claims occurring over the same period. Because Medicare data can be presumed to consist of predominately sternotomy procedures, thoracotomy appears less expensive than traditional sternotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1512-1519
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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