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Insurance claims data were analyzed for the frequency of interstitial lung disease (ILD) associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and finds that although rare, its frequency increased over time and it is associated with a significant mortality rate.
The study was done because RA-ILD has been shown to cause significant morbidity and mortality.
A retrospective analysis of commercial and Medicare insurance databases (2003 to 2014) showed the prevalence of RA-ILD ranged from 3.2 to 6.0 cases per 100,000 people across the 10-year period and incidence ranged from 2.7 to 3.8 cases per 100,000 people.
Of the 750 incident cases seen over 5 years followup, 72% had an inpatient admission and 76% had an emergency room visit. Mean total 5-year costs were US$173,405 per patient (SD $158,837). Annual per-patient costs were highest in years 1 and 5. At 5 years after first diagnosis, only 36% of patients were alive.
RA-ILD is associated with decreased survival.