September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month; THE SAGE GROUP Highlights PAD Costs and Consequences
BEAUFORT SC, Sept 9, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE)—According to THE SAGE GROUP LLC, PAD is one of the most widespread chronic diseases. Currently afflicting almost 20 million U.S. citizens, PAD prevalence is exceeded only by diabetes and venous disease. Costing an estimated $212 to $389 billion, PAD direct disease costs exceed those of diabetes and coronary disease, as well as all cancers combined.
Elaborating on the reasons for high costs, Mary L. Yost, President of THE SAGE GROUP explained, “The majority of costs are inpatient (62%-87%) with PAD-specific treatments only one factor driving up spending. Cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, and related treatments account for over 40% costs, adding significantly to total costs.”
“Despite the magnitude of the national bill, PAD remains underestimated, underdiagnosed, undertreated and under-researched,” stated Yost. “This highly prevalent, costly and deadly disease continues to be largely ignored resulting in unnecessary mortality, morbidity and amputations. Ignorance, underdiagnosis and undertreatment increases disease costs.”
“As U.S. healthcare spending consumes an increasing share of economic output, it is important to keep in mind that early diagnosis is a key factor in reducing the costs of chronic diseases, such as PAD,” Ms. Yost observed.
PAD can be diagnosed by a simple, noninvasive test. This inexpensive test, known as the ankle-brachial index (ABI), is a cost-effective method to detect disease in asymptomatic patients. Although Medicare currently offers testing for patients with symptoms, PAD is most commonly asymptomatic. According to THE SAGE GROUP, approximately 75% is asymptomatic.
“Asymptomatic does not mean the disease is benign. PAD is not just a leg problem; it is also a heart and a brain problem,” declared Ms. Yost. “Asymptomatic patients are hospitalized at similar rates and cost as much as symptomatic patients, not because of leg treatments but due to heart attacks and strokes.”
If diagnosed in the early stages, PAD patients can be treated with appropriate lifestyle modifications and drug therapies to reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke; exercise therapy to reduce the pain of claudication; or if blockages are more severe, with minimally invasive revascularization technologies.
“However, if the disease is not diagnosed until critical limb ischemia (CLI) occurs, interventional therapy is more costly. If gangrene is so severe that the limb cannot be salvaged, the patient must undergo amputation, the most costly procedure,” Yost elaborated.
“Amputation is not only extremely undesirable from the patient’s viewpoint, it is socially undesirable in terms of costs. According to our estimates, CLI amputations cost $25 billion,” she continued.
THE SAGE GROUP, a research and consulting company, specializes in atherosclerotic and venous disease in the lower limbs, specifically PAD, CLI, intermittent claudication (IC) and ischemic diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). The most recent research focuses on quantifying the economic and social costs of PAD, CLI and amputation. For additional information visit www.thesagegroup.us.
THE SAGE GROUP, Beaufort, SC