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Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a disease with high morbidity and mortality. Care for these patients, including lung transplantation, may provide significant benefits, but is resource-intensive and expensive. Disadvantaged patients with IPF may hence be at risk for receiving inferior care.

Methods: We analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database consisting of all hospitalizations from a 20% sample of US hospitals. We identified adults hospitalized with IPF between 1998 and 2011 using ICD-9 codes. We assessed the effect of insurance coverage and socioeconomic status (SES) on lung transplantation, a treatment that may improve survival. We also examined the effect of coverage and SES on mortality, as well as discharge to inpatient rehabilitation and receipt of a lung biopsy, two markers of the intensity of care delivered. We used multiple logistic regression to adjust for patient and hospital characteristics.

Results: We identified 148,877 hospitalizations that met our definition of pulmonary fibrosis. In the main adjusted analyses, hospitalizations of patients with Medicaid (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.16–0.57) or no insurance (OR 0.22, 95% CI 0. 07–0.72) were less likely to result in a lung transplantation compared to hospitalizations of those with non-Medicaid insurance. Those of lower SES were also less likely to undergo transplantation, while hospitalized patients with Medicaid and the uninsured were less likely to be discharged to inpatient rehabilitation or to receive a lung biopsy.

Conclusions: Among hospitalized patients with IPF, those with lower SES, Medicaid coverage and without insurance were less likely to receive several clinical interventions.


This article was originally published in BMC Health Services Research, available at DOI: 10.1186/s12913-018-3407-0.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (



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