The Burden of Illness of Hypopituitary Adults with Growth Hormone Deficiency
Objective: The negative metabolic and psychosocial consequences of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in adults are now well established. In the present study, an attempt was made to quantify the burden of illness, in terms of lost productivity and increased medical consumption, associated with hypopituitarism and untreated GHD.
Design and Setting: The study population consisted of 129 Belgian adults with untreated GHD associated with hypopituitarism after pituitary surgery. The Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) was used to assess health status, and the Health and Labour Questionnaire was used to measure production losses and labour performance. Data on medical consumption were also collected.
Main Outcome Measures and Results: Hypopituitary patients reported a lower health status than that of the general population in all but two dimensions of the SF-36 (pain and physical functioning). Nearly 11% of the patients reported being incapacitated for paid employment due to health problems, compared with 4.8% of the general Belgian population. Patients in paid employment reported a mean of 19.8 days of sickness leave per year, which is twice that in the general population. The annual number of visits to general practitioners and specialists was also higher in the patients (9.6 and 6.5 visits, respectively, for the patients compared with corresponding figures of 2.1 and 1.5 for the general Belgian population). The average annual number of days spent in hospital was 3.5 for the patients compared with 2.3 in the general population. The annual healthcare costs and costs due to production losses calculated for hypopituitary patients who had received pituitary surgery amounted to 135 024 Belgian francs (BeF) or $US4340 (1995 values). This compares with the mean annual cost per person for the Belgian population as a whole of BeF68 569 or $US2204.
Conclusions: Hypopituitary patients with untreated GHD therefore have a higher cost to society in terms of lost production and medical consumption than the average Belgian population.
KeywordsAdis International Limited Growth Hormone Deficiency Hypopituitarism Belgian Population Hypopituitary Patient
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