Quality-adjusted life years (QALY) for 15 chronic conditions and combinations of conditions among US adults aged 65 and older

Haomiao Jia, Erica I. Lubetkin, John P. Barile, Willi Horner-Johnson, Kimberly DeMichele, Debra S. Stark, Matthew M. Zack, William W. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Although the life expectancy for the US population has increased, a high proportion of this population has lived with =1 chronic conditions. We have quantified the burden of disease associated with 15 chronic conditions and combinations of conditions by estimating quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for older US adults. Research Design: Data were from the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey Cohort 15 (baseline survey in 2012, follow-up survey 2014, with mortality follow-up through January 31, 2015). We included individuals aged 65 years and older (n= 96,481). We estimated mean QALY throughout the remainder of the lifetime according to the occurrence of these conditions. Results: The age-adjusted QALY was 5.8 years for men and 7.8 years for women. Over 90% respondents reported at least 1 condition and 72% reported multiple conditions. Respondents with depression and congestive heart failure had the lowest age-adjusted QALY (1.1-1.5 y for men and 1.5-2.2 y for women), whereas those with hypertension, arthritis, and sciatica had higher QALY (4.2-5.4 and 6.4-7.2 y, respectively). Having either depression or congestive heart failure and any 1 or 2 of the other 13 conditions was associated with the lowest QALY among the possible dyads and triads of chronic conditions. Dyads and triads with hypertension or arthritis were more prevalent, but had higher QALY. Conclusions: Understanding the burden of disease for common chronic conditions and for combinations of these conditions is useful for delivering high-quality primary care that could be tailored for individuals with combinations of chronic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-746
Number of pages7
JournalMedical care
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Burden of disease
  • Chronic conditions
  • Health-related quality of life (HRQOL)
  • Quality-adjusted life year (QALY)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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