Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Despite the negative impact of PAH on quality of life and survival, data on use of specialty palliative care services (PCS) is scarce.
We sought to evaluate the inpatient use of PCS in patients with PAH.
Using the National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample, 30,495 admissions with a primary diagnosis of PAH were identified from 2001 through 2017. The primary outcome of interest was temporal trends and predictors of inpatient PCS use in patients with PAH.
The inpatient use of PCS was low (2.2%), but increased during the study period from 0.5% in 2001 to 7.6% in 2017, with a significant increase starting in 2009. White race, private insurance, higher socioeconomic status, hospital-specific factors, higher comorbidity burden (Charlson Comorbidity Index), cardiac and noncardiac organ failure, and use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and noninvasive mechanical ventilation were independent predictors of increased PCS use. PCS use was associated with a higher prevalence of do-not-resuscitate status, a longer length of stay, higher hospitalization costs, and increased in-hospital mortality with less frequent discharges to home, likely because these patients were also sicker (higher comorbidity index and illness acuity).
The inpatient use of PCS in patients with PAH is low, but has been increasing over recent years. Despite increased PCS use over time, patient- and hospital-specific disparities in PCS use continue. Further studies evaluating these disparities and the role of PCS in the comprehensive care of PAH patients are warranted.
Copyright © 2020 American College of Chest Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.