Health care costs of cardiovascular disease in China: a machine learning-based cross-sectional study

Mengjie Lu, Hong Gao, Chenshu Shi, Yuyin Xiao, Xiyang Li, Lihua Li, Yan Li, Guohong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes substantial financial burden to patients with the condition, their households, and the healthcare system in China. Health care costs for treating patients with CVD vary significantly, but little is known about the factors associated with the cost variation. This study aims to identify and rank key determinants of health care costs in patients with CVD in China and to assess their effects on health care costs. Methods: Data were from a survey of patients with CVD from 14 large tertiary grade-A general hospitals in S City, China, between 2018 and 2020. The survey included information on demographic characteristics, health conditions and comorbidities, medical service utilization, and health care costs. We used re-centered influence function regression to examine health care cost concentration, decomposing and estimating the effects of relevant factors on the distribution of costs. We also applied quantile regression forests—a machine learning approach—to identify the key factors for predicting the 10th (low), 50th (median), and 90th (high) quantiles of health care costs associated with CVD treatment. Results: Our sample included 28,213 patients with CVD. The 10th, 50th and 90th quantiles of health care cost for patients with CVD were 6,103 CNY, 18,105 CNY, and 98,637 CNY, respectively. Patients with high health care costs were more likely to be older, male, and have a longer length of hospital stay, more comorbidities, more complex medical procedures, and emergency admissions. Higher health care costs were also associated with specific CVD types such as cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and stroke. Conclusion: Machine learning methods are useful tools to identify determinants of health care costs for patients with CVD in China. Findings may help improve policymaking to alleviate the financial burden of CVD, particularly among patients with high health care costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1301276
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - 2023


  • cardiovascular disease
  • financial burden
  • health care costs
  • machine learning
  • quantile regression forest


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