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Open Access Research article

Decision-making in percutaneous coronary intervention: a survey

Catherine R Rahilly-Tierney12* and Ira S Nash3

Author Affiliations

1 Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology and Research Information Center (MAVERIC), Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

2 Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

3 Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York, USA

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2008, 8:28  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-28

Published: 25 June 2008



Few researchers have examined the perceptions of physicians referring cases for angiography regarding the degree to which collaboration occurs during percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) decision-making. We sought to determine perceptions of physicians concerning their involvement in PCI decisions in cases they had referred to the cardiac catheterization laboratory at a major academic medical center.


An anonymous survey was mailed to internal medicine faculty members at a major academic medical center. The survey elicited whether responders perceived that they were included in decision-making regarding PCI, and whether they considered such collaboration to be the best process of decision-making.


Of the 378 surveys mailed, 35% (133) were returned. Among responding non-cardiologists, 89% indicated that in most cases, PCI decisions were made solely by the interventionalist at the time of the angiogram. Among cardiologists, 92% indicated that they discussed the findings with the interventionalist prior to any PCI decisions. When asked what they considered the best process by which PCI decisions are made, 66% of non-cardiologists answered that they would prefer collaboration between either themselves or a non-interventional cardiologist and the interventionalist. Among cardiologists, 95% agreed that a collaborative approach is best.


Both non-cardiologists and cardiologists felt that involving another decision-maker, either the referring physician or a non-interventional cardiologist, would be the best way to make PCI decisions. Among cardiologists, there was more concordance between what they believed was the best process for making decisions regarding PCI and what they perceived to be the actual process.