The burden associated with thrombocytopenia and platelet transfusions among patients with chronic liver disease

Mohamed I. Elsaid, Vinod K. Rustgi, Nicole Loo, Kavita Aggarwal, Josephine Li-McLeod, Xiaoli Niu, Fred Poordad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Thrombocytopenia (TCP), a common complication of chronic liver disease (CLD), can cause uncontrolled bleeding during procedures. As such, CLD patients with TCP and platelet counts <50,000/μL often receive prophylactic platelet transfusions before invasive procedures. However, platelet transfusions are associated with clinical complications, which may result in increased healthcare utilization and costs. Objective: This retrospective database analysis describes the clinical and economic burden in CLD patients with TCP, CLD patients without TCP, and CLD patients with TCP who receive platelet transfusions. Methods: Adult CLD patients with or without TCP were identified in the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Medicare Supplemental data from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2015. CLD patients with or without TCP were propensity-score matched (1:1) for the analysis of annual healthcare utilization and costs. Platelet transfusions among CLD patients with TCP were identified using procedure codes. Results: Of the 601,626 patients with CLD, 8,292 (1.4%) patients with TCP were matched to patients without TCP. Among CLD patients with TCP, 981 (11.8%) patients received ≥1 platelet transfusions and met inclusion/exclusion criteria. Compared to patients without TCP, CLD patients with TCP had more complications, including higher prevalence of neutropenia (11.4% vs 2.9%) and bleeding events (21.4% vs 10.9%), greater resource utilization including greater average hospital admissions (1.2 vs 0.7, p <.01), greater average ER visits (2.1 vs 1.3, p <.01), higher average outpatient office visits (20.1 vs 18.4, p <.01), and higher average healthcare costs including total costs (p <.01), inpatient costs (p <.01), ER visit costs (p <.01), and outpatient office visit costs (p <.01). The mean annual total costs in CLD and TCP patients with platelet transfusions were $206,396. Conclusions: CLD patients with TCP, and particularly those who received platelet transfusions, experienced significantly greater clinical and economic burden compared to CLD patients without TCP. Safer and more cost-effective treatments to increase platelets are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-385
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • Chronic liver disease
  • healthcare cost
  • healthcare utilization
  • platelet transfusion
  • thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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