Objectives: This study evaluates the cost of dialysis care in Brazil, including costs of ambulatory care and hospital admissions due to all causes and cardiovascular events.
Methods: Data were analyzed for 200 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on chronic hemodialysis in Brazil between 2001 and 2004. Main end points were all-cause mortality, all-cause hospital admissions, and cardiovascular events. Direct costs of dialysis treatment and complications were computed from the perspective of two payers, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and private health insurance (PHI).
Results: Mean number of days of hospitalization was 12 per patient-year. There were 105 cardiovascular events; the most frequent events were coronary disease (n = 59, 56 percent) and congestive heart failure (n = 26, 25 percent). The rate of cardiovascular events was 193 per 1,000 patient-years. There were 43 deaths, and the death rate was 79 per 1,000 patient-years. Median cost per hospital admission was US$ 675 and US$ 932 from the perspective of the MoH and PHI. For admissions due to cardiovascular causes, the corresponding costs were US$ 1,639 and US$ 4,499, respectively. Mean global cost per patient-year for chronic hemodialysis therapy was US$ 7,980 and US$ 13,428 from the perspective of the MoH and PHI, respectively.
Conclusions: Patients on chronic hemodialysis care incur significant healthcare resources due to the costs of dialysis and complications, notably cardiovascular disease. New disease management programs aimed at reducing cardiovascular morbidity and efficient use of resources are critical to ensuring the sustainability of treatments for ESRD in Brazil.