Postdischarge Health Care Costs and Readmission in Patients With Hyperkalemia-Related Hospitalizations

Kidney International Reports, 2020

Hyperkalemia, the condition of abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood, is often observed in patients with chronic kidney disease or heart failure. Although the economic burden of hyperkalemia has been studied, there is limited evidence regarding outcomes following hyperkalemia-related hospitalization discharge. These outcomes include key hospital quality metrics that are especially relevant to health care payers and providers. To fill this gap, an Analysis Group team led by Managing Principal Eric Wu and Vice Presidents Keith Betts, Fan Mu, and Yan Wang collaborated with researchers from AstraZeneca on a claims database study of real-world discharge costs and health resource utilization in patients with hyperkalemia-related hospitalizations.

Patients with a hyperkalemia-related hospitalization were exactly matched to patients with hospitalizations unrelated to hyperkalemia on key demographics, comorbidities, and hospital characteristics. After controlling for key differences, the researchers concluded that during the one-year post-discharge period, patients with hyperkalemia incurred significantly higher health care costs ($30,379) than those in a non-hyperkalemia cohort. They also had higher rates of inpatient admissions, emergency department visits, and outpatient visits. “The high postdischarge burden of hyperkalemia-related hospitalizations,” the team wrote in an article published in the journal Kidney International Reports, “indicates an unmet need for safe and effective treatment options and improved management of hyperkalemia after inpatient care.”

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Betts K, Wooley J, Mu F, Wang Y, Wang Y, Dua A, Wu E