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Costs of Biopsy and Complications in Patients with Lung Cancer

Authors Chiu YW, Kao YH, Simoff MJ, Ost DE, Wagner O, Lavin J, Culbertson RA, Smith DG

Received 8 December 2020

Accepted for publication 4 March 2021

Published 17 March 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 191—200


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Samer Hamidi

Yu-Wen Chiu,1 Yu-Hsiang Kao,1 Michael J Simoff,2 David E Ost,3 Oliver Wagner,4 James Lavin,4 Richard A Culbertson,1 Dean G Smith1

1Health Policy & Systems Management, School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; 2Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, USA; 3Department of Pulmonology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA; 4Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale, California, USA

Correspondence: Dean G Smith
LSU Health Sciences Center – New Orleans, School of Public Health, 2020 Gravier St., New Orleans, LA, 70112, USA
Email [email protected]

Purpose: To describe the distribution of diagnostic procedures, rates of complications, and total cost of biopsies for patients with lung cancer.
Patients and Methods: Observational study using data from IBM Marketscan® Databases for continuously insured adult patients with a primary lung cancer diagnosis and treatment between July 2013 and June 2017. Costs of lung cancer diagnosis covered 6 months prior to index biopsy through treatment. Costs of chest CT scans, biopsy, and post-procedural complications were estimated from total payments. Costs of biopsies incidental to inpatient admissions were estimated by comparable outpatient biopsies.
Results: The database included 22,870 patients who had a total of 37,160 biopsies, of which 16,009 (43.1%) were percutaneous, 14,997 (40.4%) bronchoscopic, 4072 (11.0%) surgical and 2082 (5.6%) mediastinoscopic. Multiple biopsies were performed on 41.9% of patients. The most common complications among patients receiving only one type of biopsy were pneumothorax (1304 patients, 8.4%), bleeding (744 patients, 4.8%) and intubation (400 patients, 2.6%). However, most complications did not require interventions that would add to costs. Median total costs were highest for inpatient surgical biopsies ($29,988) and lowest for outpatient percutaneous biopsies ($1028). Repeat biopsies of the same type increased costs by 40– 80%. Complications account for 13% of total costs.
Conclusion: Costs of biopsies to confirm lung cancer diagnosis vary substantially by type of biopsy and setting. Multiple biopsies, inpatient procedures and complications result in higher costs.

Keywords: cancer, diagnosis, economics, frequency

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