Financial toxicity risk among patients with gastric banding complications in the United States: analysis of the National Inpatient Sample
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BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (AGB) was historically among the most performed bariatric procedures but has fallen out of favor in recent years due to poor long-term weight loss and high revisional surgery rates. Significant financial hardship of medical care, known as "financial toxicity," can occur from experiencing unexpected complications of AGB. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the risk of financial toxicity among patients being admitted for AGB complications. SETTING: United States. METHODS: All uninsured and privately-insured patients who were admitted for AGB complications were identified from the National Inpatient Sample 2015-2019. Publicly available government data (U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) were utilized to estimate patient income, food expenditures, and average maximum out-of-pocket expenditures. Financial toxicity was defined as total admission cost from AGB complications ≥40% of postsubsistence income. RESULTS: Among 28,005 patients, 66% patients had private insurance and 44% patients were uninsured. Median total admission cost was $12,443 (interquartile range $7959-$19,859) and $15,182 for those who received revisional bariatric surgery. Approximately 55% of the uninsured patients and 1% of insured patients were at risk of financial toxicity after admission for banding-related complications. Patients who had an emergency admission, revisional surgery, or postoperative intensive care unit admission were more likely to experience financial catastrophe following admission (P < .01). CONCLUSIONS: About 1 in 2 uninsured patients admitted for AGB-related complications were at risk of financial toxicity. In addition to surgical risks, providers should consider the potential financial consequences of AGB when counselling patients on their choice of surgery.
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