Epidemiology of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis among an Insured Population in the United States: A Claims-based Cohort Analysis

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Rationale:Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a complex lung disease resulting from repeated inhalation of a variety of antigens. Limited data exist regarding its epidemiology.Objectives:To describe the trends in the annual incidence and prevalence of hypersensitivity pneumonitis in the United States.Methods:We developed novel claims-based coding algorithms to identify hypersensitivity pneumonitis, chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and fibrotic hypersensitivity pneumonitis cases using the 2004 to 2013 MarketScan Commercial and Medicare Supplemental healthcare claims databases. Algorithm validity and reliability were assessed with clinical data from National Jewish Health. We calculated yearly cumulative incidence and prevalence overall and by age. For the subgroup with vital status, Kaplan-Meier methods were used to analyze survival stratified by evidence of fibrosis.Results:We identified 7,498 cases that met our hypersensitivity pneumonitis definition over the 10-year study period, including 3,902 with chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis and 1,852 with fibrotic hypersensitivity pneumonitis. On the basis of the clinical-radiological adjudication of the validation sample, 38 cases (95%) were confirmed as hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The mean age was 52 years, and 58% were women. The 1-year prevalence rates for hypersensitivity pneumonitis ranged from 1.67 to 2.71 per 100,000 persons, and 1-year cumulative incidence rates ranged from 1.28 to 1.94 per 100,000 persons. The prevalence increased with age, ranging from 0.95 per 100,000 among 0- to 9-year-olds to 11.2 per 100,000 among those aged 65 years and older. Between 56 and 68% of hypersensitivity pneumonitis cases in each year were classified as chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis (prevalence, 0.91–1.70 per 100,000 persons; cumulative incidence, 0.63–1.08 per 100,000 persons). Fewer had fibrotic hypersensitivity pneumonitis (prevalence, 0.41–0.80 per 100,000 persons; cumulative incidence: 0.29–0.43 per 100,000 persons). Most cases (74%) were classified as unspecified hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Older age, male sex, and fibrosis were associated with higher mortality rates in unadjusted analyses.Conclusions:Using U.S. administrative claims-based data, we developed an algorithm with a high sensitivity and specificity for hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Between 2004 and 2013, hypersensitivity pneumonitis was more common among women and those older than 65 years. Most cases were classified as chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Approximately one-fourth met our criteria for fibrotic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which was associated with a higher mortality rate.

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