Randomized comparison of the cost and effectiveness of iopamidol and diatrizoate as contrast agents for cardiac angiography

M. A. Hlatky, K. G. Morris, K. S. Pieper, C. J. Davidson, S. J. Schwab, T. M. Bashore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


To evaluate the effectiveness and cost of low osmoiarity, nonionic contrast agents for cardiac angiography, 443 patients were randomized to receive either iopamidol or diatrizoate. All adverse events that occurred within 24 h of the procedure were recorded prospectively by study personnel and classified according to previously determined criteria. Major events were defined as life threatening or requiring a procedure to treat, or both. Costs of the catheterization procedure, pharmacy, hospital laboratory and treatment of adverse events were determined on the basis of actual resource use. A total of 20 patients (8.5%) had major and 143 (61%) had minor adverse events with diatrizoate use; 10 patients (4.8%) had major and 53 (25%) had minor adverse events with iopamidol (p = 0.12 for major events; p < 0.0001 for total events). Most adverse events were treated fairly easily and inexpensively. The median overall cost was $186 higher for patients after iopamidol use compared with diatrizoate (p < 0.0001), but all costs except the cost of the contrast agent were not significantly different between the two groups. Thus, patients who received iopamidol for cardiac angiography had a significantly lower rate of adverse events than those who received diatrizoate, but this difference was achieved at a considerably high overall cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-877
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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