Healthcare resource utilization and costs of care in the United States for patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

J Med Econ. 2023 Jan-Dec;26(1):348-356. doi: 10.1080/13696998.2023.2184967.


Aims: This retrospective, observational cohort study aimed to determine the burden of comorbidities, hospitalization, and healthcare costs among patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in the United States stratified by fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) or body mass index (BMI).

Methods: Adults with NASH were identified in the Veradigm Health Insights Electronic Health Record Database and linked Komodo claims data. The index date was the earliest coded NASH diagnosis between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2020 with valid FIB-4 and ≥6 months of database activity and continuous enrollment pre- and post-index. We excluded patients with viral hepatitis, alcohol-use disorder, or alcoholic liver disease. Patients were stratified by FIB-4: FIB-4 ≤ 0.95, 0.95 < FIB-4 ≤ 2.67, 2.67 < FIB-4 ≤ 4.12, FIB-4 > 4.12) or BMI (BMI <25, 25 ≤ BMI ≤30, BMI > 30). Multivariate analysis was used to assess the relationship of FIB-4 with costs and hospitalizations.

Results: Among 6,743 qualifying patients, index FIB-4 was ≤0.95 for 2,345 patents, 0.95-2.67 for 3,289 patients, 2.67-4.12 for 571 patients, and >4.12 for 538 patients (mean age 55.8 years; 62.9% female). Mean age, comorbidity burden, cardiovascular disease risk, and healthcare utilization increased with increasing FIB-4. Mean ± SD annual costs increased from $16,744±$53,810 to $34,667±$67,691 between the lowest and highest FIB-4 cohorts and were higher among patients with BMI <25 ($24,568±$81,250) than BMI >30 ($21,542±$61,490). A one-unit increase in FIB-4 at index was associated with a 3.4% (95%CI: 1.7%-5.2%) increase in mean total annual cost and an 11.6% (95%CI: 8.0%-15.3%) increased likelihood of hospitalization.

Conclusions: A higher FIB-4 was associated with increased healthcare costs and risk of hospitalization in adults with NASH; however, even patients with FIB-4 ≤ 0.95 presented a significant burden.

Keywords: C; C2; C21; C5; C55; I; I1; I10; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; fibrosis; healthcare costs; liver; severity of illness index.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / complications
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / diagnosis
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States