Characterizing Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients Using US Medicare Advantage Health Plan Claims Data

Kathleen Mortimer; Nadine Hartmann; Christine Chan; Heather Norman; Laura Wallace; Cheryl Enger


BMC Pulm Med. 2019;19(11) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a rare life-threating interstitial lung disease (ILD). This study characterizes demographics, health care utilization, and comorbidities among elderly IPF patients and estimates prevalence and incidence rates for selected outcomes.

Methods: Cohort study using a large US health insurance database (Optum's Medicare Advantage plan). Inclusion criteria: ≥ 1 diagnosis code for IPF (2008 - 2014), age ≥65 years, no diagnosis of IPF or other ILD in prior 12 months. Demographics, health care utilization, comorbidities and incidence rates for various outcomes were estimated. Follow-up continued until the earliest of: health plan disenrollment, death, a claim for another known cause of ILD, or end of the study period.

Results: 4,716 patients were eligible; 53.4% had IPF diagnostic testing. Median age was 77.5 years, 50.3% were male, median follow-up time was 0.8 years. Incidence rates ranged from 1.0/1,000 person-years (lung transplantation) to 374.3/1,000 person-years (arterial hypertension). Baseline characteristics and incidence rates were similar for cohorts of patients with and without IPF diagnostic testing.

Conclusions: Elderly IPF patients experience a variety of comorbidities before and after IPF diagnosis. Therapies for IPF and for the associated comorbidities may reduce morbidity and associated health care utilization of these patients.