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Left-Digit Bias and CABG

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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Source Name: The New England Journal of Medicine


Olenski AR, Zimerman A, Coussens S, Jena AB

This study of Medicare beneficiaries evaluated how often CABG was performed related to narrow intervals around a patient's birthday. Those who were seen just prior to their 80th birthday (thus 79 years old, representing left-digit bias) were abouth 30% more likely to undergo CABG than those who were seen just after their birthday (thus 80 years old). Similar findings were not evident for other ages in the same range (e.g. 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83). For comparison, mortality after MI was unrelated to the interval surrounding an individual's 80th birthday. The findings support the presence of left-digit bias in clinical decision-making.


An extra day in life adds a risk percentage in EuroSCORE: ''...Notes about euroSCORE II: [1] Age - in completed years...'' We seem to perceive age as complete years, perhaps we should round the age years up to the nearest full figure......

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