Anemia, costs and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Michael T. Halpern, Marya D. Zilberberg, Jordana K. Schmier, Edmund C. Lau, Andrew F. Shorr

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55 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalCost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
StatePublished - Oct 16 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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