Background — Despite evidence of regional variation across North America, there have been no comprehensive studies of cardiac procedure rates for coronary heart disease in Canada.
Objectives — To use available administrative data and a survey of catheterization facilities to examine regional and demographic variations in cardiovascular procedure rates.
Methods — A survey of all cardiac catheterization facilities in Canada was conducted, and the procedure counts from these facilities were used to determine provincial catheterization rates from 1997/1998 to 2001/2002. Procedure counts for 1997/1998 to 1999/2000 for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) were provided by the Canadian Institute for Health Information and used to calculate revascularization procedure rates. Population projections provided by Statistics Canada were used as denominators for calculating the rates, and direct standardization was used to obtain age- and sex-adjusted rates.
Results and Conclusions — The crude rate of cardiac catheterization in Canada increased from 359.9 to 471.5 per 100,000 population across the five years studied. There was considerable variation in revascularization procedure rates across health regions and provinces. Between 1997/1998 and 1999/2000, there was little increase in the rate of CABGs performed in Canada but a marked increase in the rate of PCIs. For both CABG and PCI, rates were higher for men than women, and highest in the 65- to 74-year-old age category. This study provides a valuable 'snapshot' of cardiac procedure use rates but indicates a clear need for more comprehensive collection of cardiac care data in Canada.