BACKGROUND: Evidence supporting nonstatin lipid-lowering therapy in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk reduction is variable. We aim to examine nonstatin utilization and expenditures in the United States between 2002 and 2013. METHODS AND RESULTS: We used the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey database to estimate national trends in nonstatin use and cost (total and out-of-pocket, adjusted to 2013 US dollars using a gross domestic product deflator) among adults 40 years or older. Nonstatin users increased from 3 million (2.5%) in 2002-2003 (20.1 million prescriptions) to 8 million (5.6%) in 2012-2013 (45.8 million prescriptions). Among adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, nonstatin use increased from 7.5% in 2002-2003 to 13.9% in 2012-2013 after peaking at 20.3% in 2006-2007. In 2012-2013, 15.9% of high-intensity statin users also used nonstatins, versus 9.7% of low/moderate-intensity users and 3.6% of statin nonusers. Nonstatin use was significantly lower among women (odds ratio 0.80; 95% confidence interval 0.75-0.86), racial/ethnic minorities (odds ratio 0.41; 95% confidence interval 0.36-0.47), and the uninsured (odds ratio 0.47; 95% confidence interval 0.40-0.56). Total nonstatin expenditures increased from $1.7 billion (out-of-pocket cost, $0.7 billion) in 2002-2003 to $7.9 billion (out-of-pocket cost $1.6 billion) in 2012-2013, as per-user nonstatin expenditure increased from $550 to $992. Nonstatin expenditure as a proportion of all lipid-lowering therapy expenditure increased 4-fold from 8% to 32%. CONCLUSIONS: Between 2002 and 2013, nonstatin use increased by 124%, resulting in a 364% increase in nonstatin-associated expenditures.
BACKGROUND: Older hospitalized acute decompensated heart failure (HF) patients have persistently poor outcomes and delayed recovery regardless of ejection fraction (EF). We hypothesized that impairments in physical function, frailty, cognition, mood, and quality of life (QoL) potentially contributing to poor clinical outcomes would be similarly severe in acute decompensated HF patients >/=60 years of age with preserved versus reduced EF (HFpEF and HFrEF). METHODS AND RESULTS: In 202 consecutive older (>/=60 years) hospitalized acute decompensated HF patients in a multicenter trial, we prospectively performed at baseline: short physical performance battery, 6-minute walk distance, frailty assessment, Geriatric Depression Scale, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and QoL assessments. Older acute decompensated HFpEF (EF >/=45%, n=96) and HFrEF (EF <45%, n=106) patients had similar impairments in all physical function measures (short physical performance battery [5.9+/-0.3 versus 6.2+/-0.2]; 6-minute walk distance [184+/-10 versus 186+/-9 m]; and gait speed [0.60+/-0.02 versus 0.61+/-0.02 m/s]) and rates of frailty (55% versus 52%; P=0.70) and cognitive impairment (77% versus 81%; P=0.56) when adjusted for differences in sex, body mass index, and comorbidities. However, depression and QoL were consistently worse in HFpEF versus HFrEF. Depression was usually unrecognized clinically with 38% having Geriatric Depression Scale >/=5 and no documented history of depression. CONCLUSIONS: Patients >/=60 years hospitalized with acute decompensated HF patients have broad, marked impairments in physical function and high rates of frailty and impaired cognition: these impairments are similar in HFpEF versus HFrEF. Further, depression was common and QoL was reduced, and both were worse in HFpEF than HFrEF. Depression was usually unrecognized clinically. These findings suggest opportunities for novel interventions to improve these important patient-centered outcomes. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique identifier: NCT02196038.
Heart failure (HF) is an increasingly prevalent condition with a very high symptom burden. To address challenges faced by palliative care clinicians, we assembled a team of experts to provide high-yield tips for the management of these patients. Prognosis is unpredictable in HF and many patients and physicians overestimate survival. Ejection fraction, notably, is not predictive of prognosis. It is important to have thorough discussions about implantable cardioverter defibrillators in terminally ill HF patients. Diuresis is the mainstay of managing volume overload and dyspnea in these patients and it is important to be aggressive and creative to achieve symptom relief. However, HF patients have a high burden of comorbidities and have many symptoms beyond dyspnea as well. Management in hospice remains challenging for these patients, with a significant risk for readmission to the hospital. Almost a quarter of HF patients discharged to hospice from the hospital die in less than three days.
BACKGROUND: Deaths from drug intoxication have increased in the United States but outcomes of recipients of orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) from these donors are not well characterized. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of the United Network for Organ Sharing's STAR database between January 2000 and March 2014 and assessed mortality and retransplantation using adjusted Cox models by mechanism of donor death. RESULTS: Of the 31,660 OHTs from 2000 to 2014, 1233 (3.9%) were from drug intoxication. These donors were more likely to be female, white, with greater tobacco use and higher BMI compared to donors who died of other mechanisms. Drug intoxication accounted for 1.1% of OHT donors in 2000 and 6.2% in March 2014. No significant difference was observed in 10-year mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.99, 0.87-1.13), 10-year retransplantation (adjusted HR 0.84, 0.49-1.41) or 1-year and 3-year rehospitalization with other mechanisms of death compared to drug intoxication. CONCLUSION: There has been a large increase in OHT donors who die of drug intoxication in the United States. OHT outcomes from these donors are similar to those dying from other mechanisms. These data have important implications for donor selection in context of the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Importance: While 1 in 10 older patients hospitalized with heart failure (HF) die within 30 days, end-of-life care for this population is not well described. Objective: To assess rates of discharge to hospice, readmission after hospice, and survival in hospice in patients following hospital discharge. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this observational cohort analysis of patients in the multicenter American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)-HF registry linked to Medicare fee-for-service claims data, we analyzed patients 65 years and older discharged alive from the hospital between 2005 and 2014. We compared 4588 patients discharged to hospice with 4357 patients with advanced HF (ejection fraction /=45 mg/dL [to convert to micromoles per liter, multiply by 0.357], systolic blood pressure
Patients with diabetes have a high residual risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and adverse outcomes despite statin therapy and lifestyle modifications. Particular to individuals with diabetes is the pattern of elevated triglycerides, small dense low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and reduced levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol, described as dyslipidemia of diabetes. The role of combination therapy with an additional agent such as niacin, ezetimibe, fenofibrate, and n-3 fatty acids has been studied; however, at the same time, these agents have come under criticism for their limitations. We performed a review of key trials assessing the benefit of combination therapy to reduce CVD risk from dyslipidemia. Of the currently available agents that can be used in combination with statins, ezetimibe has the most favorable risk profile, with a recent trial demonstrating modest incremental benefit when given in addition to statins. PCSK9 inhibitors are a promising category, although clinical outcome data in individuals with diabetes are pending.
Advances in medicine have changed how patients experience the end of life. With longer life spans, there has also been an increase in years lived with disability. The clustering of illnesses in the last years of life is particularly pronounced in patients with cardiovascular disease. At the end of life, patients with cardiovascular disease are more symptomatic, less likely to die at home, and less likely to receive high-quality palliative care. Social determinants have created widening disparities in end-of-life care. The increasing complexity and duration of care have resulted in an epidemic of caregiver burden. Modern medical care has also resulted in new ethical challenges, for example, those related to deactivation of cardiac devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators, and mechanical circulatory support. Recommendations to improve end-of-life care for patients with cardiovascular disease include optimizing metrics to assess quality, ameliorating disparities, enhancing education and research in palliative care, overcoming disparities, and innovating palliative care delivery and reimbursement.
Importance: Statins remain a mainstay in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Objective: To detail the trends in use and total and out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures associated with statins in a representative US adult population from 2002 to 2013. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective longitudinal cohort study was conducted from January 2002 to December 2013. Demographic, medical condition, and prescribed medicine information of adults 40 years and older between 2002 and 2013 were obtained from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey database. Main Outcomes and Measures: Estimated trends in statin use, total expenditure, and OOP share among the general adult population, those with established ASCVD, and those at risk for ASCVD. Costs were adjusted to 2013 US dollars using the Gross Domestic Product Index. Results: From 2002 to 2013, more than 157000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey participants were eligible for the study (mean [SD] age, 57.7 [39.9] years; 52.1% female). Overall, statin use among US adults 40 years of age and older in the general population increased 79.8% from 21.8 million individuals (17.9%) in 2002-2003 (134 million prescriptions) to 39.2 million individuals (27.8%) in 2012-2013 (221 million prescriptions). Among those with established ASCVD, statin use was 49.8% and 58.1% in 2002-2003 and 2012-2013, respectively, and less than one-third were prescribed as a high-intensity dose. Across all subgroups, statin use was significantly lower in women (odds ratio, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.79-0.85), racial/ethnic minorities (odds ratio, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.61-0.70), and the uninsured (odds ratio, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.30-0.37). The proportion of generic statin use increased substantially, from 8.4% in 2002-2003 to 81.8% in 2012-2013. Gross domestic product-adjusted total cost for statins decreased from $17.2 billion (OOP cost, $7.6 billion) in 2002-2003 to $16.9 billion (OOP cost, $3.9 billion) in 2012-2013, and the mean annual OOP costs for patients decreased from $348 to $94. Brand-name statins were used by 18.2% of statin users, accounting for 55% of total costs in 2012-2013. Conclusion and Relevance: Statin use increased substantially in the last decade among US adults, although the uptake was suboptimal in high-risk groups. While total and OOP expenditures associated with statins decreased, further substitution of brand-name to generic statins may yield more savings.
BACKGROUND: Consumer-reported patient-provider communication (PPC) assessed by Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey in ambulatory settings is incorporated as a complementary value metric for patient-centered care of chronic conditions in pay-for-performance programs. In this study, we examine the relationship of PPC with select indicators of patient-centered care in a nationally representative US adult population with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. METHODS AND RESULTS: The study population consisted of a nationally representative sample of 6810 individuals (aged >/=18 years), representing 18.3 million adults with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (self-reported or International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition diagnosis) reporting a usual source of care in the 2010 to 2013 pooled Medical Expenditure Panel Survey cohort. Participants responded to questions from Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey that assessed PPC, and we developed a weighted PPC composite score using their responses, categorized as 1 (poor), 2 (average), and 3 (optimal). Outcomes of interest were (1) patient-reported outcomes: 12-item Short Form physical/mental health status, (2) quality of care measures: statin and ASA use, (3) healthcare resource utilization: emergency room visits and hospital stays, and (4) total annual and out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease patients reporting poor versus optimal were over 2-fold more likely to report poor outcomes; 52% and 26% more likely to report that they are not on statin and aspirin, respectively, had a significantly greater utilization of health resources (odds ratio>/=2 emergency room visit, 1.41 [95% confidence interval, 1.09-1.81]; odds ratio>/=2 hospitalization, 1.36 [95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.79]), as well as an estimated $1243 ($127-$2359) higher annual healthcare expenditure. CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals a strong relationship between PPC and patient-reported outcomes, utilization of evidence-based therapies, healthcare resource utilization, and expenditures among those with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
BACKGROUND: Anticipating adverse outcomes guides decisions but can be particularly challenging in heart failure. AIM: We sought to assess the accuracy and comfort of physicians in predicting prognosis in heart failure. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey PARTICIPANTS/SETTING: Faculty and trainees in internal medicine, cardiology, and oncology estimated survival for three standardized patients: (1) 59-year-old patient with stage IV lung cancer; (2) 79-year-old woman with New York Heart Association class 4 heart failure symptoms and preserved ejection fraction; and (3) 40-year-old man with New York Heart Association class 3 heart failure symptoms and reduced ejection fraction of 20%. Survival predictions were derived from surveillance, epidemiology, and end results-Medicare database and the Seattle Heart Failure Model. Accuracy was defined as <2-fold difference between the clinician and model estimate. RESULTS: Totally, 79% (338/427) of participants responded. Physicians were more accurate in survival estimates for lung cancer than heart failure (74% vs 48%, respectively; p < 0.001). Cardiologists were more accurate in predicting survival in heart failure symptoms and reduced ejection fraction compared to generalists (67% vs 45%; p = 0.005) and oncologists (39%; p = 0.041) but no different at predicting heart failure symptoms and preserved ejection fraction. Cardiologists predicted longer survival in heart failure compared to others (p < 0.05). Physicians felt more uncomfortable discussing palliative care with heart failure patients compared to lung cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Less than half of physicians accurately estimate survival in heart failure. Cardiologists were more accurate than other specialties for heart failure symptoms and reduced ejection fraction but no different for heart failure symptoms and preserved ejection fraction.