Inpatient healthcare utilisation in patients with alcoholic liver disease: what are the costs and outcomes?
Williamson KD., Gill MG., Andrews JM., Harley HA.
BACKGROUND: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) carries a significant cost burden and often leads to inpatient care. It is unclear whether inpatient care for ALD is any more costly than admission for other reasons. AIMS: To compare the costs and outcomes of inpatient care for ALD to two groups: a control group of matched cases admitted in the same time frame and people admitted for other chronic liver diseases (CLD). METHODS: All admissions for ALD and other CLD in a 3-month period were retrospectively identified. Five randomly identified gender- and age-matched contemporaneously admitted controls were allocated. Length of stay (LoS), mortality, inpatient costs, blood product utilisation and discharge destination were compared. RESULTS: Of the 71 admissions due to CLD, ALD was the most frequent cause (53/71, 75%). ALD admissions cost more (median $10 100 vs $5294; P = 0.0012) and had greater LoS (median LoS 7.2 days (interquartile range (IQR) 0.2-40.7)) than controls (2.6 days (IQR 1.1-6.8); P = 0.0001). A larger proportion of the ALD cohort required blood transfusion and had a higher mortality than controls (24.5 vs 6.4%, P = 0.002 and 13.2 vs 0.2%; P < 0.0001 respectively). Self-discharge was more common in the ALD group (13.2 vs 1.1%, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: ALD inpatient hospital admissions have greater median total cost, longer LoS, greater blood product utilisation, higher mortality and greater rate of discharge against medical advice than age- and gender-matched controls. These data emphasise the large inpatient care burden, high mortality and suboptimal engagement in those with ALD, which justifies the more active provision of services for ALD.