Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: impact on healthcare resource utilization, liver transplantation and mortality in a large, integrated healthcare system

Thomas Gerard Cotter, Li Dong, John Holmen, Richard Gilroy, Jake Krong, Michael Charlton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and aims: NAFLD is the most prevalent liver disease globally, affecting 20% of the world population. Healthcare resource utilization (HRU) attributable to NAFLD has been difficult to define. Methods: We performed a case control study on NAFLD patients from 2005 to 2015 in a large integrated healthcare system with an affiliated insurance company that prospectively captures HRU information. Outcomes encompassed costs, liver transplantation and mortality rates. Results: There were 17,085 patients, of which 4512 were NAFLD cases and 12,573 were non-NAFLD controls. The cohorts were similar in age and gender distribution (p > 0.05). The NAFLD cohort had a younger mean age of death (60.9 vs. 63.3, p = 0.004) and had over twice the number of annual healthcare visits (14.6 vs. 7.1). The increased overall annual overall cost attributable to NAFLD (in 2015 $) was $449/year. Overall, NAFLD was independently associated with 17% higher annual attributable healthcare costs. More advanced NAFLD (FS 3–4) was associated with a 40% increase in median annual healthcare costs (vs. FS 0-2). The strongest predictors of HRU among patients with NAFLD were advanced fibrosis and medical co-morbidities. The rate of liver transplantation was 18 times greater (0.054%/year) in the NAFLD compared with the non-NAFLD cohort, while mortality rate was 1.7 times greater. Conclusions: Within a large, integrated healthcare system a diagnosis of NAFLD is independently associated with a 17% overall excess in HRU and a several-fold increase liver transplantation and mortality. Although the dollar amounts will change over time and between healthcare systems, the proportional need for HRU will have broad applicability and implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-730
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology
Volume55
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Fatty liver
  • Health economics
  • NAFLD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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