Article

Public Health Relevance of Graves' Orbitopathy

and Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology (S.M.), Working Group for Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.31). 11/2012; 98(1). DOI: 10.1210/jc.2012-3119
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Context:Disfiguring proptosis and functional impairment in patients with Graves' orbitopathy (GO) may lead to impaired earning capacity and to considerable indirect/direct costs.Objective:The aim of the study was to investigate the public health relevance of GO.Design and Setting:This cross-sectional study was performed between 2005 and 2009 at a multidisciplinary university orbital center.Patients:A total of 310 unselected patients with GO of various degrees of severity and activity participated in the study.Interventions:We conducted an observational study.Main Outcome Measures:We measured work disability and sick leave as well as the resulting indirect/direct costs of GO-specific therapies.Results:Of 215 employed patients, 47 (21.9%) were temporarily work disabled, and 12 (5.6%) were permanently work disabled. Five (2.3%) had lost their jobs, and nine (4.2%) had retired early. The mean duration of sick leave was 22.3 d/yr. Compared with the German average of 11.6 d/yr, 32 (15%) patients had taken longer sick leaves. The duration of sick leave correlated with the disease severity (P = 0.015), and work disability correlated with diplopia (P < 0.001). Multivariable analysis identified diplopia as the principal predictor for work disability (odds ratio, 1.7; P < 0.001). The average costs due to sick leave and work disability ranged between 3,301€ (4,153$) and 6,683€ (8,407$) per patient per year. Direct costs were 388 ± 56€ (488 ± 70$) per patient per year and per year were higher in sight-threatening GO (1,185 ± 2,569€; 1,491 ± 3,232$) than in moderate-to-severe (373 ± 896€; 469 ± 1,127$; P = 0.013) or in mild GO (332 ± 857€; 418 ± 1,078$; P = 0.016). Total indirect costs ranged between 3,318€ (4,174$) (friction cost method) and 6,738€ (8,476$) (human capital approach). Work impairment as well as direct and indirect costs of GO significantly correlated with the scores of the internationally standardized and specific GO quality-of-life questionnaire.Conclusions:Productivity loss and a prolonged therapy for GO incur great indirect and direct costs.

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