Heart failure costs will double by 2030, warns heart association

Heart failure could cost every American taxpayer $244 per year by 2030 as costs to treat the condition double, the American Heart Association warned in a policy statement published online Wednesday in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

In all, direct and indirect costs to treat heart failure could more than double to $70 billion by 2030, according to the the heart association.

Heart failure already is the leading cause of hospitalization for Americans over 65, the AHA noted, affecting 5 million U.S. patients per year--a number expected to reach 8 million in 2030.

Indeed, a report released last year examining hospitalizations in Pennsylvania found heart failure patients were responsible for most of the readmissions, with nearly one in four patients being readmitted within 30 days.

"If we don't improve or reduce the incidence of heart failure by preventing and treating the underlying conditions, there will be a large monetary and health burden on the country," Paul Heidenreich, M.D., director of the Chronic Heart Failure Quality Enhancement Research Initiative at the VA Health Care System in Palo Alto, Calif., said in an AHA announcement.

An aging population is partly to blame, the AHA noted, but so is an increase in people with hypertension and diabetes, both of which contribute to heart failure. Those at higher risk include smokers, lower-income individuals and minorities.

Recommendations to better manage the impact include:

  • More effective dissemination and use of guideline-recommended therapy to prevent heart failure and improve survival
  • Improving the coordination of care from hospital to home to achieve better outcomes and reduce readmissions
  • Specialized training for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals
  • 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

Meanwhile, a separate study published earlier this month in Journal of the Medical Internet Research found that telehealth intervention significantly reduced admission rates and inpatient costs for heart patients.

To learn more:
- read the policy statement
- here's the announcement