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Sharp rise predicted in heart failure cases, costs

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 6, 2013

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More than 8 million people likely will have heart failure by 2030, which would mark a 46% increase from 2012, when 5.8 million had the condition, says the American Heart Assn. That increase largely will be fueled by the nation’s aging population and the growing number of people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and ischemic heart disease, the AHA said.

As a result, direct and indirect medical costs to treat heart failure could more than double from $31 billion in 2012 to $70 billion in 2030, said the AHA policy statement that was posted online April 24 in Circulation: Heart Failure.

To avoid that uptick in illness and related costs, the AHA said steps are needed to prevent and treat the underlying conditions that often lead to heart failure.

Such steps include more effective dissemination and use of guideline-recommended therapy to prevent heart failure, and reducing health care disparities among racial, ethnic and socioeconomic subgroups, the AHA said (link).

The organization also encourages specialized training for doctors and other health care professionals on how to meet the future demands of advanced heart failure care.

On April 22, the American Medical Association launched the first phase of its multiyear health outcomes initiative, which includes efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The first phase also aims to improve health outcomes for people with those chronic conditions (link).

For the AHA policy statement, researchers examined heart failure data from the 1999-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They assessed U.S. Census Bureau projected population counts for 2012-30.

Medical costs of heart failure were estimated with the 2004-08 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which is the nation’s most complete source of data on the cost and use of health care and health insurance coverage.

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