Health Care Use and Costs Among Patients With Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis With Advanced Fibrosis Using the Fibrosis-4 Score

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Hepatol Commun


Limited evidence exists on the clinical and economic burden of advanced fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD/NASH) due to the invasiveness of liver biopsies for accurately staging liver disease. The fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) score allows for noninvasive assessment of liver fibrosis by using clinical and laboratory data alone. This study aimed to characterize the comorbidity burden, health care resource use (HCRU), and costs among patients with NAFLD/NASH with FIB-4-defined F3 (bridging fibrosis) and F4 (compensated cirrhosis) fibrosis. Using the Optum Research Database, a retrospective cohort study was conducted among 251,725 commercially insured adult patients with ≥1 NAFLD/NASH diagnosis from January 1, 2008, to August 31, 2016, and laboratory data required to calculate FIB-4 scores. Five criteria using varying FIB-4 score cutoffs were identified based on expert clinical opinion and published literature. Date of the first valid FIB-4 score marked the index date. Mean annual HCRU and costs were calculated during the pre-index and post-index periods. The prevalence of FIB-4-based F3 and F4 fibrosis was 0.40%-2.72% and 1.03%-1.61%, respectively. Almost 50% of patients identified with FIB-4-based F3 or F4 had type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or renal impairment. Total all-cause health care costs increased significantly from pre-index to post-index for patients with FIB-4-based F3 fibrosis across most criteria (17%-29% increase) and patients with FIB-4-based F4 fibrosis across all criteria (47%-48% increase). Inpatient costs were the primary drivers of this increment.

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