Newswise — Reston, VA (August 20, 2019) – A new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study assesses temporal and patient-level differences in paracentesis and thoracentesis procedures performed on Medicare beneficiaries by radiologists and non-radiologists with respect to overall procedure volume, day of week, and patient complexity. The study is published online in Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

The researchers used Medicare patient-level claims data from 2004 to 2016 to study differences over time between radiologists and non-radiologists in the performance of paracentesis and thoracentesis procedures.  They also investigated whether different specialties were more likely to perform these procedures on patients that are more complex or on weekends.

“For both paracentesis and thoracentesis procedures, we observed an increase over time in the proportion of procedures performed by radiologists compared to non-radiologists,” said Ravi V. Gottumukkala, MD, a radiology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Additionally, while for both procedures, radiologists increasingly perform the majority of services on both weekdays and weekends, we found that the proportion of the services provided by radiologists was greater on weekdays compared to weekends.”

Gottumukkala and his colleagues found that between 2004 and 2016, the proportion of all paracentesis procedures performed by radiologists increased from 70% to 80%, while thoracentesis procedures increased from 47% to 66%.

The results also showed that currently, both radiologists and non-radiologists perform paracentesis and thoracentesis procedures on similarly complex patients. However, “for a majority of the first nine years, radiologists performed paracentesis on more complex patients than non-radiologists, but patient complexity was similar during recent years. For thoracentesis, patient complexity was similar for both specialty groups across the study period,” noted Anand M. Prabhakar, MD, MBA, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

To obtain a copy of the study or to arrange an interview with a Neiman Institute spokesperson, contact Nichole Gay at (703) 390-9876 or [email protected].


About the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute

The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute® is one of the nation’s leading medical imaging socioeconomic research organizations. The Neiman Institute studies the role and value of radiology and radiologists in evolving health care delivery and payment systems and the impact of medical imaging on the cost, quality, safety and efficiency of health care.Visit us at and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Journal Link: Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology