DALLAS - Heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases could cost the nation about $15 billion more in economic costs in 1998 than they did in 1997, according to figures released today by the American Heart Association in its 1998 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update.
The annual toll in lives also continues to rise, with final stroke and heart disease deaths up nearly 11,000 from 1994 to 1995, the most recent year for which such totals are available, the AHA reported.
The total cost of cardiovascular disease in 1998 is expected to reach $274.2 billion, up from $259.1 billion in 1997. Included in the estimate is the cost of care provided by physicians and other professionals, hospital and nursing home services, medications, and home health and other medical durables. Also included is lost productivity resulting from the number of people who are ill or have died as a result of heart disease and stroke. "Costs are rising for several reasons," says Martha N. Hill, R.N., Ph.D., president of the American Heart Association. "First of all, as the population increases and ages, more people will be having heart attacks and strokes. And while we're developing new and better ways to treat these diseases, the treatments do cost money."
Hospital and nursing home costs - estimated at $119.9 billion - is the largest category of direct costs. Physician and other professional services account for another $25.9 billion. Among indirect costs, the American Heart Association estimates that lost productivity resulting from deaths from cardiovascular disease will cost the United States $77.9 billion in future earnings.
The number and cost of major heart-related procedures also continues to climb. In 1995 a total of 573,000 coronary artery bypass procedures were performed at an average cost of $44,820 per surgery. In 1994 a total of 501,000 bypass procedures were performed.