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Older patients with chronic kidney disease are costly as they transition to dialysis

the six months after they started dialysis. Researchers adjusted the dollar amount of the claims for inflation.

The average age of the patient was 75, and 51 percent were males.

The research indicates that Medicare costs for older patients with chronic kidney disease escalate rapidly a few months before needing dialysis to survive. No previous studies have examined costs in a group of elderly patients with chronic kidney disease for such an extensive time period.

The research shows that hospitalization costs were the major cost driver throughout the study. Patients with chronic kidney disease who also had diabetes or cardiovascular disease incurred higher costs compared with those who didn't have other diseases. The researchers concluded that that timely management of chronic kidney disease and other conditions may reduce future hospitalizations and bring down the cost of managing end-stage renal disease.

"Although yet to be proven in a prospective clinical trial, early diagnosis of chronic kidney disease and timely interventions for complications of chronic kidney disease may prevent avoidable morbidity and cost," the authors wrote.

St. Peter says there are three implications of the study:

  • Sicker patients are being cared for under the Medicare end-stage renal disease program, a trend that will increase costs.
  • Better management of chronic kidney disease and other conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease may delay the onset of end-stage renal disease and decrease future health care expenses by decreasing hospitalizations.
  • Prospective studies are needed to determine whether spending money up front on preventive therapies and health maintenance in patients with chronic kidney disease will reduce future health care costs.

    Many patients with chronic kidney disease have other conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Researchers examined the e
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  • Contact: Sharon Agsalda
    medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
    781-388-8507
    Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    1-Sep-2004


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