Despite published guidelines and data for Medicare patients, it is uncertain how younger patients with intermittent claudication (IC) are treated. Additionally, the degree to which treatment patterns have changed over time with the expansion of endovascular interventions and outpatient centers is unclear. Our goal was to characterize IC treatment patterns in the commercially insured non-Medicare population.
The IBM MarketScan Commercial Database, which comprises over 8 billion U.S. commercial insurance claims, was queried for patients newly diagnosed with IC from 2007 to 2016. Patient demographics, medication profiles, and open/endovascular interventions were evaluated. Time trends were modeled using simple linear regression and goodness-of-fit was assessed with coefficients of determination (R). A patient-centered cohort sample and a procedure-focused dataset were analyzed.
Among 152,935,013 unique patients in the database, there were 300,590 newly diagnosed IC patients. Mean insurance coverage was 4.4 years. Median age was 58 years and 56% of patients were male. The prevalence of statin use was 48% among patients at the time of IC diagnosis and increased to 52% among patients after one year from diagnosis. Interventions were performed in 14.3% of whom 20% and 6% underwent > 2 and > 3 interventions, respectively. Median time from diagnosis to intervention decreased from 230 days in 2008 days to 49 days in 2016 (R=.98). There were 16,406 inpatient and 102,925 ambulatory interventions for IC over the study period. Among ambulatory interventions, 7.9% were performed in office-based/surgical centers. The proportion of atherectomies performed in the ambulatory setting increased from 9.7% in 2007 to 29% in 2016 (R=.94). In office-based/surgical centers, 57.6% of interventions for IC utilized atherectomy in 2016. Atherectomy was used in ambulatory interventions by cardiologists in 22.6%, surgeons in 15.2%, and radiologists in 13.6% of interventions. Inpatient atherectomy rates remained stable over the study period. Open and endovascular tibial interventions were performed in 7.9% and 7.8% of ambulatory and inpatient IC interventions, respectively. Tibial bypasses were performed in 8.2% of all open IC interventions.
There was been shorter time to intervention in the treatment of younger commercially insured patients with IC, with many receiving multiple interventions. Statin utilization was low. Ambulatory procedures, especially in office-based/surgical centers, increasingly used atherectomy, which was not observed in inpatient settings.