Do prices reflect the costs of cardiac surgery in the elderly? [Serão preço e custo coincidentes na cirurgia cardíaca do idoso?]

Pedro Coelho, Vanessa Rodrigues, Luís Miranda, José Inácio Guerra Fragata, Pedro Pita Barros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and Objectives

Payment for cardiac surgery in Portugal is based on a contract agreement between hospitals and the health ministry. Our aim was to compare the prices paid according to this contract agreement with calculated costs in a population of patients aged ≥65 years undergoing cardiac surgery in one hospital department.


Data on 250 patients operated between September 2011 and September 2012 were prospectively collected. The procedures studied were coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) (n=67), valve surgery (n=156) and combined CABG and valve surgery (n=27). Costs were calculated by two methods: micro-costing when feasible and mean length of stay otherwise. Price information was provided by the hospital administration and calculated using the hospital's mean case-mix.


Thirty-day mortality was 3.2%. Mean EuroSCORE I was 5.97 (standard deviation [SD] 4.5%), significantly lower for CABG (p<0.01). Mean intensive care unit stay was 3.27 days (SD 4.7) and mean hospital stay was 9.92 days (SD 6.30), both significantly shorter for CABG. Calculated costs for CABG were €6539.17 (SD 3990.26), for valve surgery €8289.72 (SD 3319.93) and for combined CABG and valve surgery €11 498.24 (SD 10 470.57). The payment for each patient was €4732.38 in 2011 and €4678.66 in 2012 based on the case-mix index of the hospital group, which was 2.06 in 2011 and 2.21 in 2012; however, the case-mix in our sample was 6.48 in 2011 and 6.26 in 2012.


The price paid for each patient was lower than the calculated costs. Prices would be higher than costs if the case-mix of the sample had been used. Costs were significantly lower for CABG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Cardiologia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Costs
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Price
  • Case-mix


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