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01-12-2009 | Diabetes | Article

Macrovascular complications linked to low productivity, increased healthcare costs


Free abstract

MedWire News: Patients with diabetes and macrovascular comorbid conditions (MVCCs) have significantly higher healthcare costs and miss more days of work than other diabetics, show study results.

Alex Fu (Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA) and colleagues used pooled data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) for the years 2004 and 2006 to assess costs associated with MVCCs in diabetic patients. Overall, 46,617 adults were assessed in the two surveys, of whom 4233 had diabetes.

They calculated healthcare costs by annual health care expenditure and loss of productivity was calculated from days off work for illness/injury based on the average national hourly wage in 2006.

MVCCs included ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, aortic/visceral/peripheral aneurysms, visceral atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, strokes and transient ischemic attacks.

In total, 913 (22%) of the MEPS diabetics had MVCCs.

Writing in the journal Diabetes Care, the team reports that diabetic patients with MVCCs had significantly higher average healthcare costs than those without (US $5120; €3401 per year). They also had significantly more days off work (21 days on average) than diabetics without MVCCs.

These increases were still significant after controlling for differences in sociodemographics, smoking, diabetes severity, and other comorbidities.

The researchers calculated that the marginal lost productivity per patient per year was US $2388 (€1587).

Fu and co-workers conclude that “both diabetes and macrovascular conditions are associated with a considerable economic impact on society, including both increased direct health care cost and lost indirect productivity cost, and that the impact of MVCCs on diabetic patients is also substantial.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Helen Albert