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Acute Coronary Syndrome Costs Billions Per Year

Direct healthcare expenditure and economic losses due to acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in the UK amount to £3.6 billion annually, while their societal burden can be valued at up to £9.8 billion, according to a report announced recently by HEART UK (available from

The figures announced recently by HEART UK were published in a report, The burden of acute coronary syndromes in the United Kingdom, authored by Charles River Associates and commissioned by AstraZeneca (available from

According to the report, in a 12-month period from 2009-10, 150,802 hospitalisations were due to ACS in the UK. 98,506 (65%) of hospitalisations were due to myocardial infarction (MI) and 52,296 (35%) were due to unstable angina (UA). The report attributes a far greater cost to the loss of economic productivity resulting from death of qualified workers, premature retirement and sick leave due to poor health (see table 1).

Acute Coronary

Looking at the burden of the disease on society, the report estimates 327,522 disability adjusted life years (DALYs) were lost in 2009. Assuming a willingness to pay around £30,000 per DALY to reduce this burden, the authors calculate the societal cost of ACS for the UK as £9.8 billion.

At a parliamentary reception to launch the report, HEART UK, together with the British Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation and AntiCoagulation Europe, identified how using existing post-event services optimally could not only improve the experience and outcomes for patients, but could also save money which could contribute to the £20 billion efficiency savings that must be delivered between 2011 and 2014.

They called for access to cardiac rehabilitation services to be broadened, discharge information to be improved, adherence to medication to be maximised, and psychological health problems in patients suffering a cardiac event to be addressed.

Table 1

Cost category Unstable angina Myocardial infarction
Direct costs
Hospitalisation costs 25.3 348.7
Physician costs 5.4 24.1
Pharmaceutical costs
Economic costs – lost value to British economy
Productivity losses (morbidity) 8.1 1,851.4
Productivity losses (mortality) 0 1,228.3

Published on: April 6, 2011

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