Considerable resource use, costs for cardiovascular care
Leslee J. Shaw, Ph.D., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues calculated the 10-year health care costs for 6,814 asymptomatic participants enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Costs were derived using Medicare nationwide and ZIP code-specific costs. Costs were presented in 2014 U.S. dollars.
The researchers observed a dramatic increase in the prevalence of risk factors; by 10 years, 19, 57, and 53 percent had diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, respectively. About 40 percent of enrollees had self-reported symptoms. About one-third of enrollees reported having an echocardiogram or exercise test at 10 years; 7 percent underwent invasive coronary angiography. Based on these patterns, the 10-year health care costs were $23,142. Seventy-eight percent of costs were associated with CVD medication use. Outpatient visits and diagnostic testing among the elderly, obese, and those with a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein level >3mg/L or coronary artery calcium score ≥400 accounted for about $2 of every $10 spent. There was wide variation in costs, from <$7,700 for low-risk to >$35,800 for high-risk subgroups.
"Maintenance of a healthy population has the potential to markedly reduce the economic burden of CVD among asymptomatic individuals," the authors write.
Two authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device and technology industries.
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