Direct economic burden of patients with autoimmune encephalitis in western China

Objective

To analyze the cost of autoimmune encephalitis (AE) in China for the first time.

Methods

Patients who were newly diagnosed with antibody-positive AE (anti-NMDA receptor [NMDAR], anti- aminobutyric acid type B receptor [GABABR], antileucine-rich glioma-inactivated 1 [LGI1], and anticontactin-associated protein-2 [CASPR2]) at West China Medical Center between June 2012 and December 2018 were enrolled, and a cost-of-illness study was performed retrospectively. Data on clinical characteristics, costs, and utilization of sources were collected from questionnaires and the hospital information system.

Results

Of the 208 patients reviewed, the mean direct cost per patient was renminbi (RMB) 94,129 (United States dollars [USD] 14,219), with an average direct medical cost of RMB 88,373 (USD 13,349). The average inpatient cost per patients with AE was RMB 86,810 (USD 13,113). The direct nonmedical cost was much lower than the direct medical cost, averaging RMB 5,756 (USD 869). The direct cost of anti-LGI1/CASPR2 encephalitis was significantly lower than that of anti-NMDAR encephalitis and anti-GABABR encephalitis. The length of stay in the hospital was significantly associated with the direct cost.

Conclusions

The financial burden of AE is heavy for Chinese patients, and there are significant differences between different types of AE.

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