European Union's 169 billion bill for cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease cost the European Union's economy 169 billion in 2003, according to research published on-line (Wednesday 22 February) in Europe's leading cardiology journal, European Heart Journal[1].

Dealing with CVD cost every man, woman and child in the EU 230 in healthcare costs[2], took up 12% of all the healthcare expenditure, accounted for 126 million hospital bed days, 268.5 million working days lost and severely hampered the daily activities of 4.4 million people one in every 100 EU citizens.

The two million deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2003 represented 24.4 billion of the total bill and a loss of 2.18 million working years.

The study, from a team at the Health Economics Research Centre, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, England, is the first to assess the economic impact of CVD in the 25 EU member states.

Lead author Jos Leal, a research officer in the department, said: "CVD, with its main components of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, is the principal source of mortality and morbidity in the EU, yet until now, there has been no systematic cost-of-illness study to evaluate its economic burden on the EU. The objective of this study is to help policy makers assess the impact of their policies and set priorities for research spending. It also highlights the need for comparable and accurate information on CVD prevalence, mortality and healthcare resources within all EU countries as well as the EU as a whole."

The analysis covered total healthcare estimates primary, outpatient, emergency and in-patient care and medication plus the costs of unpaid care and lost earnings due to illness and premature death.

In-patient care accounted for 60 billion (57%) of the healthcare costs. Pharmaceutical expenditure at 28.4 billion represented 27%, with primary, outpatient and emergency care absorbing 16%.

A breakdown of the contributions that the various

Contact: Margaret Willson
European Society of Cardiology

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