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Costs to Treat Heart Failure Expected to More Than Double by 2030

Aging population fuels increasing heart failure incidence, AHA says (Apr. 24)

By 2030, every U.S. taxpayer could be paying $244 a year to care for heart failure patients, according to a new American Heart Association (AHA) policy statement.

The statement, published online in the AHA journal Circulation: Heart Failure, predicts:

  • The number of people with heart failure could increase by 46% from 5 million in 2012 to 8 million in 2030.
  • Direct and indirect costs to treat heart failure could more than double from $31 billion in 2012 to $70 billion in 2030.

The rising incidence of heart failure in the U.S. is fueled by an aging population and by an increase in the number of people with conditions that contribute to the development of the disease, such as hypertension and diabetes, the AHA says.

“Heart failure is a disease of the elderly,” Paul A. Heidenreich, MD, MS, remarked. “Because our population is aging, it will become more common, and the cost to treat heart failure will become a significant burden to the United States over the next 20 years unless something is done to reduce the age-specific incidence.”

The AHA’s policy statement includes recommendations on reducing the burden of heart failure and on managing the increasing number of Americans with the condition. These recommendations include:

  • More effective dissemination and use of guideline-recommended therapy to prevent heart failure and to improve survival.
  • Improving the coordination of care from hospital to home to achieve better outcomes and to reduce rehospitalizations.
  • Specialized training for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals to meet the future demands of advanced heart failure care.
  • Reducing disparities for heart failure prevention and care among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic subgroups to help close the gap in health outcomes.
  • Increasing access to palliative and hospice care for patients with advanced-stage heart failure.

The statement doesn’t examine the effect of provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If laws allow more people to have access to health care, it could lower the rates of heart failure and ultimately the costs of treatment, as people will have access to preventive care, Heidenreich said.

Source: AHA; April 24, 2013.

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