Although infection with the hepatitis C virus increases health care costs overall, the specific impact of the disease’s progressive severity on health care costs has previously not been well studied.
"The severity of hepatitis C-related liver disease increases with age, and the aging hepatitis C population is likely to increase the economic burden of the infection on our health care system,” says Stuart C. Gordon, M.D., director of Hepatology at Henry Ford Hospital and lead author of the study.
The results of the study will be presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco this week.
It is estimated that the majority of the four million Americans with chronic hepatitis C virus infection remain undiagnosed and thus untreated. The increasing disease prevalence has created an aging population of patients with chronic hepatitis C infection and a resultant increase in the number of patients with cirrhosis, and, subsequently, the complications of cirrhosis (end-stage liver disease).
The Henry Ford study compared the economic burden for U.S. patients with chronic hepatitis C stratified by severity of liver disease in a large private health insurance claims database from 2003 to 2010. The database included claims for all prescription medications and all medical services submitted for payment.
Researchers looked at 53,796 patients with chronic hepatitis C: 41,858 (78%) without cirrhosis, 3,718 (7%) with compensated cirrhosis, and 8,220 (15%) with end-stage liver disease. Mean age was 49 years, 51 years, and 52 years respectively.
Mean health care costs (per month) were 32% and 247% higher for patients with compensated cirrhosis ($1,870) and end-stage liver disease ($4,931), compared to those without cirrhosis ($1,420) and these results were independent of age.
A similar trend is apparent for mean hepatitis C-related health care costs. Overall, 56% of total costs were hepatitis C-related and this proportion increased with disease severity (46%, 57%, and 71% for patients without cirrhosis, compensated cirrhosis, and end-stage liver disease, respectively).
Pharmacy, ambulatory, and inpatient care accounted for 90% of costs for hepatitis C patients without cirrhosis and 93% of the costs for those with compensated cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.
The study estimated the annual health care costs to be $24,176 for patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. When looked at by disease stage, average annual costs were estimated to be $17,277 among patients with no cirrhosis, $22,752 among patients with compensated cirrhosis, and $59,995 annually among patients with end-stage liver disease.
Dr. Gordon indicated that the primary drivers of higher health care expenses were found to be inpatient costs for patients with end-stage liver disease and pharmacy costs for patients with compensated cirrhosis.
“As we see patients with more advanced liver disease, we see significantly more costs to the system. The key, therefore, is to treat and cure the infection early to prevent the consequences of more advanced disease and the associated economic burden,” says Dr. Gordon.
Current treatment for hepatitis C involves a cocktail of three drugs taken for 24-48 weeks with viral clearance “cure” rates of 65-80 percent.
Most people who are infected with hepatitis C remain without symptoms for years. The infection may lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver cancer, the need for liver transplant, and potentially death
The study was funded by Genentech.
Maria Seyrig | EurekAlert!
ECG procedure indicates whether an implantable defibrillator will extend a patient's life
02.09.2019 | Technische Universität München
Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane
14.08.2019 | European Geosciences Union
A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)
It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.
The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...
Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
18.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.10.2019 | Medical Engineering
18.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy