• Association between lung function and future risks of diabetes, asthma, myocardial infarction, hypertension and all-cause mortality

      Shah, Chintal H; Reed, Robert M; Liang, Yulan; Zafari, Zafar (European Respiratory Society, 2021-09-20)
      BACKGROUND: While forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) is a hallmark of disease progression in chronic obstructive lung diseases, little is known about the relationship between baseline FEV1 and future risks of other medical conditions. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between baseline FEV1 and future risks of diabetes, asthma, myocardial infarction, hypertension and all-cause mortality. METHODS: We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and its Epidemiological Follow-Up Study. Our data provided longitudinal follow-up of the original cohort for up to 12 years. We used two competing risks approaches, the cause-specific hazard model and the Fine-Gray sub-distribution hazard model, to measure the associations between baseline FEV1 and future risks of the outcomes of interest. All models were adjusted for major confounding factors. RESULTS: The final sample included 3020 participants (mean±sd baseline age 44.64±13.44 years). In the cause-specific hazard model, for every per cent increase in the baseline per cent predicted FEV1, the hazard of the event reduced by 2.5% (HR 0.975; 95% CI 0.958-0.994) for diabetes, 4.3% (HR 0.957; 95% CI 0.932-0.983) for asthma and 1.8% (HR 0.982; 95% CI 0.971-0.992) for all-cause mortality. There was no statistically significant association between baseline per cent predicted FEV1 and future risks of myocardial infarction (HR 0.987; 95% CI 0.970-1.004) and hypertension (HR 0.998; 95% CI 0.992-1.005). Consistent results were observed for the Fine-Gray sub-distribution hazard model. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that lower per cent predicted FEV1 values at baseline were significantly associated with higher future risks of diabetes, asthma and all-cause mortality.
    • The cost-effectiveness of common strategies for the prevention of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in universities

      Zafari, Zafar; Goldman, Lee; Kovrizhkin, Katia; Muennig, Peter Alexander (Public Library of Science, 2021-09-30)
      Background: Most universities that re-open in the United States (US) for in-person instruction have implemented the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) guidelines. The value of additional interventions to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is unclear. We calculated the cost-effectiveness and cases averted of each intervention in combination with implementing the CDC guidelines. Methods: We built a decision-analytic model to examine the cost-effectiveness of interventions to re-open universities. The interventions included implementing the CDC guidelines alone and in combination with 1) a symptom-checking mobile application, 2) university-provided standardized, high filtration masks, 3) thermal cameras for temperature screening, 4) one-time entry ('gateway') polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, and 5) weekly PCR testing. We also modeled a package of interventions ('package intervention') that combines the CDC guidelines with using the symptom-checking mobile application, standardized masks, gateway PCR testing, and weekly PCR testing. The direct and indirect costs were calculated in 2020 US dollars. We also provided an online interface that allows the user to change model parameters. Results: All interventions averted cases of COVID-19. When the prevalence of actively infectious cases reached 0.1%, providing standardized, high filtration masks saved money and improved health relative to implementing the CDC guidelines alone and in combination with using the symptom-checking mobile application, thermal cameras, and gateway testing. Compared with standardized masks, weekly PCR testing cost $9.27 million (95% Credible Interval [CrI]: cost-saving-$77.36 million)/QALY gained. Compared with weekly PCR testing, the 'package' intervention cost $137,877 (95% CrI: $3,108-$19.11 million)/QALY gained. At both a prevalence of 1% and 2%, the 'package' intervention saved money and improved health compared to all the other interventions. Conclusions: All interventions were effective at averting infection from COVID-19. However, when the prevalence of actively infectious cases in the community was low, only standardized, high filtration masks clearly provided value.
    • The cost-effectiveness of standalone HEPA filtration units for the prevention of airborne SARS CoV-2 transmission.

      Zafari, Zafar; de Oliveira, Pedro M; Gkantonas, Savvas; Ezeh, Chinenye; Muennig, Peter Alexander (Springer Nature, 2022-05-12)
      Objective: Airborne infection from aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 poses an economic challenge for businesses without existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that standalone units may be used in areas without existing HVAC systems, but the cost and effectiveness of standalone units has not been evaluated. Study design: Cost-effectiveness analysis with Monte Carlo simulation and aerosol transmission modeling. Methods: We built a probabilistic decision-analytic model in a Monte Carlo simulation that examines aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in an indoor space. As a base case study, we built a model that simulated a poorly ventilated indoor 1000 square foot restaurant and the range of Covid-19 prevalence of actively infectious cases (best-case: 0.1%, base-case: 2%, and worst-case: 3%) and vaccination rates (best-case: 90%, base-case: 70%, and worst-case: 0%) in New York City. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of improving ventilation rate to 12 air changes per hour (ACH), the equivalent of hospital-grade filtration systems used in emergency departments. We also provide a customizable online tool that allows the user to change model parameters. Results: All 3 scenarios resulted in a net cost-savings and infections averted. For the base-case scenario, improving ventilation to 12 ACH was associated with 54 [95% Credible Interval (CrI): 29-86] aerosol infections averted over 1 year, producing an estimated cost savings of $152,701 (95% CrI: $80,663, $249,501) and 1.35 (95% CrI: 0.72, 2.24) quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained. Conclusions: It is cost-effective to improve indoor ventilation in small businesses in older buildings that lack HVAC systems during the pandemic.
    • Decline in COPD Admissions During the COVID-19 Pandemic Associated with Lower Burden of Community Respiratory Viral Infections

      So, Jennifer Y; O'Hara, Nathan N; Kenaa, Blaine; Williams, John G; deBorja, Christopher L; Slejko, Julia F; Zafari, Zafar; Sokolow, Michael; Zimand, Paul; Deming, Meagan; et al. (Elsevier Ltd., 2021-06-12)
      Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread implementation of public health measures, such as stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and masking mandates. In addition to decreasing spread of SARS-CoV2, these measures also impact the transmission of seasonal viral pathogens, which are common triggers of COPD exacerbations. Whether reduced viral prevalence mediates reduction in COPD exacerbation rates is unknown. Methods: We performed retrospective analysis of data from a large, multicenter healthcare system to assess admission trends associated with community viral prevalence and with initiation of COVID-19 pandemic control measures. We applied difference-in-differences (DiD) analysis to compare season-matched weekly frequency of hospital admissions for COPD before and after implementation of public health measures for COVID-19. Community viral prevalence was estimated using regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention test positivity data and correlated to COPD admissions. Results: Data involving 4,422 COPD admissions demonstrated a season-matched 53% decline in COPD admissions during COVID-19 pandemic, which correlated to community viral burden (r=0.73; 95% CI: 0.67 to 0.78) and represented a 36% greater decline over admission frequencies observed in other medical conditions less affected by respiratory viral infections (IRR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.57 to 0.71, p<0.001). The post-COVID-19 decline in COPD admissions was most pronounced in patients with fewer comorbidities and without recurrent admissions. Conclusion: The implementation of public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with decreased COPD admissions. These changes are plausibly explained by reduced prevalence of seasonal respiratory viruses.
    • Differences between blacks and whites in well-being, beliefs, emotional states, behaviors and survival, 1978-2014

      Zafari, Zafar; Keyes, Katherine M; Jiao, Boshen; Williams, Sharifa Z; Muennig, Peter Alexander (Public Library of Science, 2020-09-14)
      OBJECTIVES: Material well-being, beliefs, and emotional states are believed to influence one's health and longevity. In this paper, we explore racial differences in self-rated health, happiness, trust in others, feeling that society is fair, believing in God, frequency of sexual intercourse, educational attainment, and percent in poverty and their association with mortality. STUDY DESIGNS: Age-period-cohort (APC) study. METHODS: Using data from the 1978-2014 General Social Survey-National Death Index (GSS-NDI), we conducted APC analyses using generalized linear models to quantify the temporal trends of racial differences in our selected measures of well-being, beliefs, and emotional states. We then conducted APC survival analysis using mixed-effects Cox proportional hazard models to quantify the temporal trends of racial differences in survival after removing the effects of racial differences in our selected measures. RESULTS: For whites, the decline in happiness was steeper than for blacks despite an increase in high school graduation rates among whites relative to blacks over the entire period, 1978-2010. Self-rated health increased in whites relative to blacks from 1978 through 1989 but underwent a relative decline thereafter. After adjusting for age, sex, period effects, and birth cohort effects, whites, overall, had higher rates of self-rated health (odds ratio [OR] = 1.88; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.63, 2.16), happiness (OR = 2.05; 1.77, 2.36), and high school graduation (OR = 2.88; 2.34, 3.53) compared with blacks. Self-rated health, happiness, and high school graduation also mediated racial differences in survival over time. CONCLUSIONS: We showed that some racial differences in survival could be partly mitigated by eliminating racial differences in health, happiness, and educational attainment. Future research is needed to analyze longitudinal clusters and identify causal mechanisms by which social, behavioral, and economic interventions can reduce survival differences.
    • A personalized biomedical risk assessment infographic for people who smoke with COPD: a qualitative study.

      Gupta, Samir; Panchal, Puru; Sadatsafavi, Mohsen; Ghanouni, Parisa; Sin, Don; Pakhale, Smita; To, Teresa; Zafari, Zafar; Nimmon, Laura (Springer Nature, 2022-01-06)
      Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) causes 3 million deaths each year, yet 38% of COPD patients continue to smoke. Despite proof of effectiveness and universal guideline recommendations, smoking cessation interventions are underused in practice. We sought to develop an infographic featuring personalized biomedical risk assessment through future lung function decline prediction (with vs without ongoing smoking) to both prompt and enhance clinician delivery of smoking cessation advice and pharmacotherapy, and augment patient motivation to quit. Methods: We recruited patients with COPD and pulmonologists from a quaternary care center in Toronto, Canada. Infographic prototype content and design was based on best evidence. After face validation, the prototype was optimized through rapid-cycle design. Each cycle consisted of: (1) infographic testing in a moderated focus group and a clinician interview (recorded/transcribed) (with questionnaire completion); (2) review of transcripts for emergent/critical findings; and (3) infographic modifications to address findings (until no new critical findings emerged). We performed iterative transcript analysis after each cycle and a summative qualitative transcript analysis with quantitative (descriptive) questionnaire analysis. Results: Stopping criteria were met after 4 cycles, involving 20 patients (58% male) and 4 pulmonologists (50% male). The following qualitative themes emerged: Tool content (infographic content preferences); Tool Design (infographic design preferences); Advantages of Infographic Messaging (benefits of an infographic over other approaches); Impact of Tool on Determinants of Smoking Cessation Advice Delivery (impact on barriers and enablers to delivery of smoking cessation advice in practice); and Barriers and Enablers to Quitting (impact on barriers and enablers to quitting). Patient Likert scale ratings of infographic content and format/usability were highly positive, with improvements in scores for 20/21 questions through the design process. Providers scored the infographic at 77.8% (“superior”) on the Suitability Assessment of Materials questionnaire. Conclusions: We developed a user preference-based personalized biomedical risk assessment infographic to drive smoking cessation in patients with COPD. Our findings suggest that this tool could impact behavioural determinants of provider smoking-cessation advice delivery, while increasing patient quit motivation. Impacts of the tool on provider care, patient motivation to quit, and smoking cessation success should now be evaluated in real-world settings. © 2021, The Author(s).
    • Projecting Long-Term Health and Economic Burden of COPD in the United States

      Zafari, Zafar; Li, Shukai; Eakin, Michelle N; Bellanger, Martine; Reed, Robert M (Elsevier Inc., 2020-10-02)
      Background: In the United States, COPD is a leading cause of mortality, with a substantial societal health and economic burden. With anticipated population growth, it is important for various stakeholders to have an estimate for the projected burden of disease. Research Question: The goal of this study was to model the 20-year health and economic burden of COPD, from 2019 to 2038, in the United States. Study Design and Methods: Using country-specific data from published literature and publicly available datasets, a dynamic open cohort Markov model was developed in a probabilistic Monte Carlo simulation. Population growth was modeled across different subgroups of age, sex, and smoking. The COPD prevalence rates were calibrated for different subgroups, and distributions of severity grades were modeled based on smoking status. Direct costs, indirect absenteeism costs, losses of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and number of exacerbations and deaths associated with COPD were projected. Results: The 20-year discounted direct medical costs attributable to COPD were estimated to be $800.90 billion (95% credible interval [CrI], 565.29 billion-1,081.29 billion), with an expected $337.13 billion in male subjects and $463.77 billion in female subjects. The 20-year discounted indirect absenteeism costs were projected to be $101.30 billion (70.82 billion-137.41 billion). The 20-year losses of QALYs, number of exacerbations, and number of deaths associated with COPD were 45.38 million (8.63 million-112.07 million), 315.08 million (228.59 million-425.33 million), and 9.42 million (8.93 million-9.93 million), respectively. The proportion of disease burden attributable to continued smoking was 34% in direct medical costs, 35% in indirect absenteeism costs, and 37% in losses of QALYs over 20 years. Interpretation: This study projects the substantial burden of COPD that the American society is expected to incur with current patterns for treatments and smoking rates. Mitigating such burden requires targeted budget appropriations and cost-effective interventions.
    • Trends in Medicaid spending on inhalers in the United States, 2012-2018

      Sistani, Farideh; Reed, Robert M; Shah, Chintal H; Zafari, Zafar (Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, 2021-12)
      BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are common respiratory diseases that impose a significant economic burden on Medicaid. Inhalers are the mainstay treatment for relieving symptoms and improving outcomes for COPD and asthma patients. OBJECTIVE: To describe the total spending and trends of Medicaid expenditures on inhalers between 2012 and 2018 in the United States. METHODS: We analyzed the deidentified data from the Medicaid Drug Spending Dashboard and utilization datasets from 2012 to 2018. We identified 9 classes of inhalers and described the Medicaid total spending on and relative annual changes for those inhalers. We also described the spending on available generic inhalers and compared the Medicaid spending by manufacturers during this time frame. RESULTS: Medicaid spent $26.2 billion on inhalers from 2012 to 2018. This spending increased by $2.5 billion (120%) over this time frame. During this specified period, the highest Medicaid spending was on the group of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)-containing inhalers ($14.9 billion). Within this group, the inhaler class of ICS/long-acting beta-2 adrenoceptor agonists contributed to the highest Medicaid spending (53%), with a growth of 607% between 2012 and 2018. Of the $26.2 billion that Medicaid spent on inhalers, $35.5 million (less than 0.01%) was spent on 2 generic inhalers: fluticasone propionate with salmeterol and levalbuterol tartrate hydrofluoroalkane. CONCLUSIONS: Between 2012 and 2018, on average, $3.5 billion per year was spent by Medicaid on inhalers. Decreasing the price of inhalers by introducing more generic inhalers in the market can potentially reduce the cost burden on Medicaid. Copyright©2021, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. All rights reserved.