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Complications Higher Than Expected for Invasive Lung Tests

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2019 -- The rates of complications after invasive diagnostic procedures for lung abnormalities are higher in the community setting than in clinical trials, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Jinhai Huo, Ph.D., M.D., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of non-protocol-driven community practices captured in MarketScan Commercial Claims & Encounters and Medicare supplemental databases to determine the complication rates and downstream medical costs associated with invasive diagnostic procedures for identification of lung abnormalities. Data were included for 344,510 patients aged 55 to 77 years who underwent these procedures between 2008 and 2013.

The study group included 174,702 individuals, while 169,808 served as controls. The researchers found that the estimated complication rates were 22.2 and 23.8 percent for individuals in the young age group and those in the Medicare group, respectively, which were higher than the rates reported in the National Lung Screening Trial (9.8 and 8.5 percent, respectively). For minor and major complications, the mean incremental complication costs were $6,320 and $56,845, respectively.

"Results from this study, while tentative, emphasize the importance of including the risks of subsequent adverse events and downstream costs in the shared decision-making communications between physicians and patients," the authors write.

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Posted: January 2019

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