• Journal Article

Anemia, costs and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Halpern, M., Zilberberg, M. D., Schmier, J. K., Lau, E. C., & Shorr, A. F. (2006). Anemia, costs and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, 4, 17.


BACKGROUND: Little is known about cost implications of anemia and its association with mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This claims analysis addresses these questions. METHODS: Using the the US Medicare claims database (1997-2001), this study identified Medicare enrollees with an ICD-9 diagnosis of COPD. Concomitant anemia was identified based on ICD-9 codes or receipt of transfusions. Persons with anemia secondary to another disease state, a nutritional deficiency or a hereditary disease were excluded. Medicare claims and payments, resource utilization and mortality were compared between COPD patients with and without anemia. RESULTS: Of the 132,424 enrollees with a COPD diagnosis, 21% (n = 27,932) had concomitant anemia. At baseline, anemic patients were older, had more co-morbidities and higher rates of health care resource use than non-anemic individuals with COPD. In a univariate analysis annual Medicare payments for persons with anemia were more than double for those without anemia ($1,466 vs. $649, p < 0.001), the direction maintained in all categories of payments. Adjusting for demographics, co-morbidities, and other markers of disease severity revealed that anemia was independently associated with $3,582 incremental increase per patient (95% CI: $3,299 to $3,865) in Medicare annual reimbursements. The mortality rate among COPD patients with anemia was 262 vs. 133 deaths per 1,000 person-years among those without anemia (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Anemia was present in 21% of COPD patients. Although more prevalent in more severely ill COPD patients, anemia significantly and independently contributes to the costs of care for COPD and is associated with increased mortality