Cleveland HeartLab Issues Economic Benefit Study for Its Inflammation Test
Cleveland HeartLab has become the latest esoteric laboratory to make the pitch that its tests can save the U.S. health care system a load of money in the long run. A new study issued by Cleveland HeartLab concludes its assay to detect cardiac inflammation could save nearly $181 million over five years if employed by […]
Cleveland HeartLab has become the latest esoteric laboratory to make the pitch that its tests can save the U.S. health care system a load of money in the long run. A new study issued by Cleveland HeartLab concludes its assay to detect cardiac inflammation could save nearly $181 million over five years if employed by a commercial health plan with 1 million lives. About 720,000 Americans suffer heart attacks every year, of which 515,000 are first-time incidents. Another 800,000 suffer strokes, of which 610,000 are occurring for the first time. According to data from the American Heart Association, half of all heart attacks and strokes occur in individuals with normal cholesterol levels. The test can detect biomarkers such as Myeloperoxidase, Lp-Pla2, and hsCRP, which are associated with cardiac inflammation and therefore a higher risk for heart attacks and stroke. The test costs between $25 and $50, according to Tim Baker, a Cleveland HeartLab spokesperson. According to Cleveland HeartLab’s study, using its assay could lead to interventions that prevent more than 2,000 nonfatal myocardial infarctions among health plan members over five years and prevent more than 1,800 nonfatal ischemic strokes—as well as the associated costs for treating such episodes. The lab claims that savings reach $3 per member per month during the fifth year of implementation, regardless of the size of the health plan. “Traditional methods for assessing and mitigating risk are insufficient and may misclassify an individual’s actual risk of a heart attack and death,” said Marc Penn, M.D., Cleveland HeartLab’s chief medical officer. “Routine inflammation testing helps identify individuals with previously unidentified risk so that steps can be taken to decrease vascular inflammation, improve their state of wellness, and lower their risk of a heart attack and death.” The testing data released by Cleveland HeartLab is similar to the cost propositions put forward by California-based CardioDx, which has released several studies indicating the economic effectiveness of using its Corus test on patients who present to their physicians with chest pains. Takeaway: More esoteric laboratories are publishing data to make an economic case for utilizing their tests.