Cystic Fibrosis Patients in Canada Live Longer Than Those in U.S.

Cystic Fibrosis Patients in Canada Live Longer Than Those in U.S.

WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Life expectancy has increased for patients with cystic fibrosis, but those in Canada live nearly 10 years longer than those in the United States, according to research published online March 14 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study included data from 45,448 individuals in the United States and 5,941 in Canada with cystic fibrosis. The data covered the period from 1990 to 2013. After adjusting for factors known to be associated with survival, the researchers found that the risk of death among patients was 34 percent lower in Canada than in the United States.

When Canadians with cystic fibrosis (who have access to universal health care) were compared to patients in the United States with the disease who had private health insurance, there was no survival difference. The risk of death for Canadians with cystic fibrosis was 44 percent lower than for U.S. patients who had continuous Medicaid or Medicare coverage, 36 percent lower than for people with intermittent Medicaid or Medicare coverage, and 77 percent lower than for individuals without health insurance or unknown coverage status. Between 2009 and 2013, the average Canadian with cystic fibrosis lived to just under 51 years. In the United States, someone with the disease could expect to live an average of close to 41 years.

“Differences in cystic fibrosis survival between Canada and the United States persisted after adjustment for risk factors associated with survival, except for private-insurance status among U.S. patients,” the authors write. “Differential access to transplantation, increased posttransplant survival, and differences in health care systems may, in part, explain the Canadian survival advantage.”

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