Characterizing the financial burden of pulmonary arterial hypertension within an integrated healthcare delivery system

Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose: Financial burden associated with providing healthcare to patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is poorly characterized. This study sought to quantify 3-year healthcare expenditures and determine whether expenditures differed between incident and prevalent PAH cases. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO) patients with confirmed diagnosis of PAH. Included patients were followed from study entry until 3 years, death, or termination of KPCO membership, whichever came first. All expenditures were reported in 2011 US dollars from the KPCO perspective. Results: In total, 157 patients were included: 44 (28%) prevalent and 113 (72%) incident cases. Mean age (prevalent vs incident cases) was 61 years vs 67 years and 13.6% vs 27.4% were males. The majority of patients (55%) were classified as WHO Group 1 PAH. Prevalent cases had less follow-up (843 vs 975 days; p=0.033). Overall, median total per patient per day (PPPD) and 3-year total expenditures were $56 (interquartile range (IQR=$29- $166) and $50,599 (IQR=$25,958-$135,535), respectively. After adjustment for patient characteristics and chronic disease burden, median PPPD ($54 vs $56; p=0.950) and 3-year ($37,340 vs $55,073; p=0.111) total expenditures were equivalent between prevalent and incident cases; however, the risk of death during the 3-year follow-up was lower among incident cases (hazard ratio=0.41, 95% CI=0.18-0.91). No significant differences were detected in pharmacy, inpatient, medical office, emergency department, or other expenditures. Median PAH specialty medication PPPD expenditures were also equivalent, also ($226 vs $223 among specialty medication users; p=0.861). Conclusion Healthcare expenditures related to PAH represent substantial financial burden. Significant differences according to prevalent or incident case status appeared to be driven by median ED and inpatient expenditures; however, PAH specialty medication expenditures represented a substantial cost-driver overall. Future efforts should focus on optimizing care for patients with PAH to avoid unnecessary harm or waste. © 2013 Informa UK Ltd.

This document is currently not available here.