Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Related Complications and Healthcare Costs among a Medicare-Insured Population in the United States

Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 2023


Literature describing respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-related complications in older adults in the United States is scarce. This study described risk factors of RSV-related complications and healthcare costs of Medicare-insured patients aged ≥60 years with medically attended RSV.


100% Medicare Research Identifiable Files (1 January 2007-31 December 2019) were used to identify adults aged ≥60 years with RSV (index: first diagnosis date). Predictors of ≥1 RSV-related complication (ie, pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, congestive heart failure, hypoxia/dyspnea, non-RSV lower/upper respiratory tract infections, or chronic respiratory disease) during the up to 6-month post-RSV diagnosis period were identified. Patients with all aforementioned diagnoses during the 6 months pre-index could not be evaluated for a complication and were therefore ineligible for analyses. Differences between 6-month pre- and post-index total all-cause and respiratory/infection-related healthcare costs were assessed.


Overall, 175 392 patients with RSV were identified. Post-RSV diagnosis, 47.9% had ≥1 RSV-related complication, with mean time-to-event of 1.0 month. The most common complications were pneumonia (24.0%), chronic respiratory disease (23.6%), and hypoxia or dyspnea (22.0%). Baseline predictors of ≥1 RSV-related complication included having previous diagnoses for complication/comorbidity listed in the Methods, hypoxemia, chemotherapy, chest radiograph, stem cell transplant, and anti-asthmatic and bronchodilator use. Total all-cause and respiratory/infection-related healthcare costs were $7797 and $8863 higher, respectively, post-index versus pre-index (both P < .001).


In this real-world study, almost half of patients with medically attended RSV experienced an RSV-related complication within 1 month post-RSV diagnosis, and costs significantly increased post-diagnosis. Having a complication/comorbidity pre-RSV predicted a higher risk of developing a different complication post-RSV infection.

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DeMartino JK, Lafeuille MH, Emond B, Rossi C, Wang J, Liu S, Lefebvre P, Krishnarajah G