Healthcare utilization and expenditures associated with hyperkalemia management: a retrospective study of Medicare Advantage patients

Nihar R. Desai, Paula J. Alvarez, Ladan Golestaneh, Steven D. Woods, Steven G. Coca, Christopher G. Rowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aims: This study aimed to estimate the association of patiromer exposure vs. no potassium (K+) binder (NoKb) exposure with healthcare utilization and expenditures among a cohort of Medicare Advantage patients with hyperkalemia (HK). Methods: Using Optum’s Clinformatics Data Mart (study period 2016–2019), the authors assessed propensity score-matched patients (1:1) with a serum K+ concentration ≥5.0 mmol/L and an HK diagnosis that were exposed to patiromer or NoKb on baseline characteristics. The following outcomes were compared: (1) inpatient/emergency department (ED) encounters, (2) inpatient costs greater than or equal to mean Medicare Advantage inpatient cost (i.e. $14,900), and (3) the relative healthcare spending rate. Logistic regression and zero-inflated negative binomial regression were used to analyze the outcomes. Results: The study cohort included 1,539 patiromer and NoKb matched pairs. Baseline characteristics were (patiromer/NoKb): age 74/75 years; female 42/40%; serum K+ 5.6/5.6 mmol/L; eGFR rate 36/36 mL/min/1.73 m2; low-income subsidy 42/41%, chronic kidney disease 96/96%; end-stage renal disease 12/12%; and congestive heart failure 37/36%. A total of 253 matched pairs (506 patients) remained uncensored and were analyzed at 6 months. Inpatient/ED encounters were observed for 25% (patiromer) and 37% (NoKb) (odds ratio [OR] 0.58, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.38–0.89). The relative odds of having inpatient costs ≥$14,900 were ∼50% less for patients exposed to patiromer vs. NoKb (OR [95% CI]: 0.47 [0.25–0.89]). The relative total healthcare spending rate (including inpatient, outpatient, ED, and pharmacy costs) was 19% less for patients exposed to patiromer vs. NoKb (spending rate ratio [95% CI]: 0.81 [0.67–0.98]). Conclusion and limitations: Among Medicare Advantage patients with HK, patiromer exposure (vs. NoKb) was associated with statistically significant reductions in the proportion with inpatient/ED encounters, inpatient costs ≥$14,900, and lower total healthcare spending. Further research, with larger sample size, is warranted to fully validate these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1036
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Hyperkalemia
  • administrative claims data
  • chronic kidney disease
  • end-stage renal disease
  • healthcare resource utilization
  • hospitalization costs
  • patiromer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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