Nav: Home

Real cost of heart attacks and strokes: Double the direct medical expense

April 07, 2019

Sophia Antipolis, 7 April 2019: The full financial cost of a heart attack or stroke is twice as much as the medical costs when lost work time for patients and caregivers is included.

That's the finding of research published today, World Health Day, in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1 The study concludes that victims of heart attack and stroke who return to work are 25% less productive in their first year back.

In the year after the event, heart patients lost 59 workdays and caregivers lost 11 workdays, for an average cost of €13,953, and ranging from €6,641 to €23,160 depending on the country. After stroke, 56 workdays were lost by patients and 12 by caregivers, for an average €13,773, ranging from €10,469 to €20,215.

Study author Professor Kornelia Kotseva, of Imperial College London, UK, said: "Patients in our study returned to work, meaning their events were relatively mild. Some still had to change jobs or careers, or work less, and caregivers lost around 5% of work time. Not included in our study are those with more severe events who quit work altogether and presumably need even more help from family and friends."

The study enrolled 394 patients from seven European countries - 196 with acute coronary syndrome (86% heart attack, 14% unstable chest pain) and 198 with stroke - who returned to work 3 to12 months after the event. Patients completed a questionnaire2,3 during a visit to a cardiologist, neurologist, or stroke physician. Hours lost were valued according to country labour costs in 2018. The average age of patients was 53 years.

According to published estimates for Europe, the direct medical costs of acute coronary syndrome are €1,547 to €18,642, and €5,575 to €31,274 for stroke.4 "This is the metric commonly used to estimate the costs of medical conditions while indirect costs from productivity loss are often not taken into account by clinicians, payers or policymakers," said Professor Kotseva. "Taken together, the actual burden on society is more than twice the amount previously reported."

Reasons for lost productivity were consistent across countries: 61% was the initial hospitalisation and sick leave after discharge; 23-29% was absence from work after the initial sick leave (for medical appointments and shorter sick leave); 9-16% was being unable to work at full capacity because of feeling unwell.

Even more workdays were lost in the first year after the event for patients with previous events or established cardiovascular disease. When adding days lost by patients and caregivers together, this was 80 for acute coronary syndrome and 73 for stroke, costing €16,061 and €14,942, respectively.

In the study, 27% of heart patients and 20% of stroke patients were obese, while 40% of heart patients and 27% of stroke patients were current smokers.

"Productivity loss associated with cardiovascular events is substantial and goes beyond the patient," said Professor Kotseva. "Preventing acute coronary syndrome and stroke is the key to improving health and longevity and avoiding the myriad of costs that come with such an event. The true tragedy is that so many heart attacks and strokes could be averted by not smoking, being physically active, eating healthily, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. The evidence could not be stronger."
-end-
Authors: ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0)4 8987 2499
Mobile: +337 8531 2036
Email: press@escardio.org

Follow us on Twitter @ESCardioNews

Sources of funding: This study was funded by Amgen (Europe) GmbH.

Disclosures: Please see the paper for disclosures of all authors.

Notes

References
1Kotseva K, Gerlier L, Sidelnikov E, et al. Patient and caregiver productivity loss and indirect costs associated with cardiovascular events in Europe. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2019. doi:10.1177/2047487319834770.
2Patients filled in the Productivity Cost Questionnaire (iPCQ) designed by the Institute for Medical Technology Assessment at Erasmus University in Rotterdam and validated to collect productivity loss data. It included questions about the amount of help needed from caregivers.
3Bouwmans C, Krol M, Severens H, et al. The iMTA Productivity Cost Questionnaire: A Standardized Instrument for Measuring and Valuing Health-Related Productivity Losses. Value Health. 2015;18:753-758. doi:10.1016/j.jval.2015.05.009.
4Nicholson G, Gandra S, Halbert R, et al. Patient-level costs of major cardiovascular conditions: A review of the international literature. Clinicoecon Outcomes Res. 2016;8:495-506. doi:10.2147/CEOR.S89331.

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together health care professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

About the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology

The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology is the world's leading preventive cardiology journal, playing a pivotal role in reducing the global burden of cardiovascular disease.

European Society of Cardiology

Related Heart Attack Articles:

Where you live could determine risk of heart attack, stroke or dying of heart disease
People living in parts of Ontario with better access to preventive health care had lower rates of cardiac events compared to residents of regions with less access, found a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Activated T-cells drive post-heart attack heart failure
Chronic inflammation after a heart attack can promote heart failure and death.
ICU care for COPD, heart failure and heart attack may not be better
Does a stay in the intensive care unit give patients a better chance of surviving a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure flare-up or even a heart attack, compared with care in another type of hospital unit?
Heart attack treatment might be in your face
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have received $2.4 million in federal funding to pursue research on a novel cell therapy that would repair heart damage using modified cells taken from the patient's own facial muscle.
Tissue engineering advance reduces heart failure in model of heart attack
Researchers have grown heart tissue by seeding a mix of human cells onto a 1-micron-resolution scaffold made with a 3-D printer.
Study shows functional effects of human stem cell delivery to heart muscle after heart attack
Researchers delivered human stem cells seeded in biological sutures to the damaged heart muscles of rats following induced acute myocardial infarction and assessed the effects on cardiac function one week later.
Younger heart attack survivors may face premature heart disease death
For patients age 50 and younger, the risk of premature death after a heart attack has dropped significantly, but their risk is still almost twice as high when compared to the general population, largely due to heart disease and other smoking-related diseases The risk of heart attack can be greatly reduced by quitting smoking, exercising and following a healthy diet.
After the heart attack: Injectable gels could prevent future heart failure (video)
During a heart attack, clots or narrowed arteries block blood flow, harming or killing cells in the heart.
Heart failure after first heart attack may increase cancer risk
People who develop heart failure after their first heart attack have a greater risk of developing cancer when compared to first-time heart attack survivors without heart failure, according to a study today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
1 in 4 patients develop heart failure within 4 years of first heart attack
One in four patients develop heart failure within four years of a first heart attack, according to a study in nearly 25,000 patients presented today at Heart Failure 2016 and the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure by Dr.

Related Heart Attack Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...