Burden of Carcinoid Heart Disease in Patients With Carcinoid Syndrome Initiating Somatostatin Analogues

Vijay N. Joish, Raul Perez-Olle, Pablo Lapuerta, Sam Dharba, Jerome Zacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: As a result of overproduction of serotonin, patients with uncontrolled carcinoid syndrome (CS) may develop carcinoid heart disease (CaHD). However, the prevalence and health care resources to manage CaHD are not well understood. This study investigated the prevalence and economic burden of CaHD among adults with CS in the United States. Methods: This retrospective study analyzed insurance claims of patients with CS initiating somatostatin analogue (SSA) therapy. Eligible patients had ≥1 medical claim for CS with continuous insurance coverage for 1 year before and at least 30 days after initiating SSA therapy. Markers for CaHD were identified using a predetermined list of medical and/or procedural claims based on the clinical experience of a practicing cardiologist. Case subjects had a documented medical/procedural claim for a marker of CaHD during the study period; control subjects had no markers for CaHD. Baseline characteristics were assessed during the pre-SSA treatment initiation period. Economic outcomes (health care resources and expenditures) were assessed in the follow-up period after SSA treatment initiation and compared between incident case subjects and control subjects. Descriptive statistics were used to assess demographic and clinical characteristics. Univariate and multivariate models were used to assess differences in health care resource use and costs between case subjects and control subjects. Findings: A total of 654 patients met the eligibility criteria; 248 (38%) had a prevalent marker of CaHD and were excluded from the economic analysis. The analytic sample included 406 patients with CS, 185 (46%) of whom had an incident CaHD marker (case subjects) and 221 were controls. Baseline characteristics between the case subjects and control subjects were similar with the exception that case subjects tended to be older. Average health care resource use and costs were higher among case subjects (total costs, $51,825 vs $29,068; P < 0.01), driven by average hospital admissions (1.4 vs 0.7) with increased length of stay (4.3 vs 2.0 days), office visits (22.8 vs 19.8), and outpatient services (22.3 vs 15.4; all, P < 0.05). Implications: CaHD may be common among patients with CS before initiating SSA therapy and within 2 years of starting SSA therapy, suggesting suboptimal control of serotonin production. Patients with CaHD incur substantial economic costs in addition to the clinical morbidity compared with patients with CS and no CaHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1716-1723.e2
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • 5-HIAA
  • carcinoid heart disease
  • carcinoid tumor
  • malignant carcinoid syndrome
  • neuroendocrine tumors
  • serotonin


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