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Cost of Hospital Cardiac Care on the Rise

Overall expenditure is up despite a slowing in the number of cases, report notes

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. hospital costs for treating cardiovascular conditions have increased about 40 percent within the last decade, according to the latest federal government numbers.

The increase, from $40 billion in 1997 to $57.9 billion in 2006, occurred mainly between 1997 and 2003, according to the report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Since then, the annual growth in hospital costs for treating these conditions has slowed to less than 2 percent due to a decline in the number of heart disease cases and slower increases in cost per case.

Treatment of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack and clogged arteries accounted for almost 18 percent of the $329 billion hospitals spent on patient care in 2006, compared to about 19 percent of the $216 billion spent on patient care in 1997, the report showed.

Among the other findings in the report:

  • Hospital treatment costs for coronary artery disease (hardening of the arteries) increased from $14.5 billion in 1997 to $17.5 billion in 2006 -- a 2.1 percent annual increase.
  • Costs for heart attack treatment increased from $9 billion to $11.8 billion -- a 3 percent increase.
  • Congestive heart failure treatment costs increased from $6.6 billion to $11.2 billion -- a 6.1 percent annual increase.
  • Costs for treatment of irregular heart beats increased from $3.5 billion to $6.8 billion -- a 7.7 percent yearly increase.
  • Stroke treatment costs increased from $5.3 billion to $6.7 billion -- a 2.6 percent annual increase.
  • Costs for treatment of chest pain with no determined cause increased from $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion -- a 10 percent annual increase.

The report is based on data from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about heart and vascular diseases.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, Dec. 10, 2008

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