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Hospitals' cost for the top six cardiovascular treatments is nearing $60 billion

Research Activities, February 2009, No. 363

Treating heart attack victims, opening clogged arteries, and treating other common cardiovascular conditions cost U.S. hospitals $57.9 billion in 2006—about 40 percent more than in 1997, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Most of this growth in costs, however, occurred between 1997 and 2003. Since 2003, annual growth in costs for these conditions has slowed to less than 2 percent—attributable to a slight decline in the number of heart disease cases and slower increases in the cost per case.

AHRQ's analysis, which adjusted cost figures for inflation, showed how much U.S. hospital costs increased between 1997 and 2006 for the following cardiovascular treatments:

  • Hospital treatment of patients with 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 treating patients with heart attacks increased from $9 billion to $11.8 billion (a 3 percent annual increase).
  • Costs for treating patients with congestive heart failure increased from $6.6 billion to $11.2 billion (a 6.1 percent annual increase).
  • Costs for treating patients with irregular heart beats increased from $3.5 billion to $6.8 billion (a 7.7 percent annual increase).
  • Costs for treating patients with stroke increased from $5.3 billion to $6.7 billion (a 2.6 percent annual increase).
  • Costs for treating patients with chest pain with no determined cause increased from $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion. This condition increased more than any other of these heart-related conditions-increasing by about 10 percent annually from 1997 to 2006.
  • Treatment for these conditions accounted for 17.6 percent of the $329 billion hospitals spent on patient care in 2006-slightly lower than in 1997 when these conditions accounted for 18.7 percent of the $216 billion spent.

For more information, go to HCUP Facts and Figures, 2006 (http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/factsandfigures/facts_figures_2006.jsp) which highlights data from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The report provides data on leading reasons for hospitalizations, on procedures performed on hospital patients and related topics.

Current as of February 2009
Internet Citation: Hospitals' cost for the top six cardiovascular treatments is nearing $60 billion: Research Activities, February 2009, No. 363. February 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/research-activities/feb09/0209RA29.html