Economic Impact and Prognostic Factors of Functional Dyspepsia in Children

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2020 Apr;70(4):e65-e70. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002599.


Objectives: Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a functional abdominal pain disorder. There is paucity of data on the economic impact of FD in children. Primary aim of our study was to estimate annual evaluation cost ("diagnosis and visit" cost) and secondary aim was to identify potential prognostic factors of FD in children.

Methods: Out of the 136 patients 86 met inclusion criteria and were divided into 2 clinical groups: Complete Improvement Group (CIG-30 patients) and Partial/No Improvement Group (PIG/NIG-56 patients). Medications used were noted descriptively. Annual evaluation cost was calculated using 2017 Medicare reimbursement rates.

Results: Annual evaluation cost in all patients was $724.874 ± $180.075 ($544.799 ± $87.995 in CIG and $904.949 ± 79.083 in PIG/NIG). An extrapolated annual cost of evaluation in children with FD would be approximately $5.79 billion. Average number of clinic visits (3.1 ± 1.2 in CIG vs 4.40 ± 3.1 in PIG/NIG), duration of follow-up in months (9.2 ± 6.6 in CIG vs 17.1 ± 13.6 in PIG/NIG), use of imaging studies (7 patients in CIG [23.3%] vs 29 in PIG/NIG [51.8%]) and endoscopic procedures (17 in CIG [56.7%] vs 46 in PIG/NIG [82.1%]) were significantly higher in PIG/NIG (P < 0.005). PIG/NIG required multiple medications for control of symptoms compared to CIG (4 patients in CIG [13.5%] vs 30 in PIG [53.6%], P value <0.001]. For every $500.00 decrease in total evaluation cost the odds of having a complete response was 0.998 (P = 0.027). No prognostic factors were identified in children with FD.

Conclusions: FD in children has a significant economic impact on health care expenditure. Patients with FD who have partial/no response to treatment incur greater financial cost potentially adding to health care expenditure.