The entire financial cost of a heart attack or stroke is twice as high as medical costs when lost time is included for patients and caregivers.
This is a research study published today, World Health Day, in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the European Cardiac Society (ESC). The study concludes that the heart and stroke victims returning to work are 25% less productive in their first year of life.
In the year after the event, heart patients lost 59 working days, and caregivers lost 11 business days, with an average cost of 13,953 euros, and ranged from 6,641 to 23,160 euros, depending on the country. After the stroke, patients lost 56 working days, and caretakers 12, averaging 13,773 euros, ranged from 10,469 to 20,215 euros.
Author of research by Professor Kornelia Kotseva of Imperial College in London said: "The patients in our study returned to work, meaning their events were relatively mild. Some had to change the job or career, or work less, and the caretakers were lost about 5% In our study are not included those with more serious events leaving the job and probably need even more help from family and friends. "
The study included 394 patients from seven European countries – 196 with acute coronary syndrome (86% of heart attacks, 14% with unstable chest pain) and 198 with stroke – who returned to work 3 to 12 months after the event. Patients filled out a questionnaire with a cardiologist, neurologist or a stroke physician during the visit. Lost hours are estimated at labor costs in the country in 2018. The average age of the patient was 53 years.
According to published estimates for Europe, the direct medical costs of acute coronary syndrome are between 1.547 and 18.642 euros, and for stroke of 5.575 to 31.274 euros. "This is a metric that is commonly used to estimate the cost of medical conditions, while doctors, taxpayers, or policy makers often ignore indirect costs of productivity loss," says Professor Kotseva. "Taken together, the actual burden for society is twice the amount previously reported."
Reasons for lost productivity were consistent in all countries: 61% was initial hospitalization and sick leave after dismissal; 23-29% were absent from work after initial sick leave (for medical examinations and shorter sickness); 9-16% of respondents were unable to work full strength due to bad feelings.
Even more days are lost in the first year after events for patients with previous events or confirmed cardiovascular disease. When the patients and caregivers lost the days together, it was 80 for acute coronary syndrome and 73 for stroke, which amounted to 16,061 €, or 14,942 €.
In the study, 27% of heart patients and 20% of stroke patients were obese, while 40% of heart patients and 27% of stroke patients were immediately smokers.
"The loss of productivity associated with cardiovascular events is significant and surpasses the patient," says Professor Kotseva. "The prevention of acute coronary syndrome and stroke is a key to improving health and longevity and avoiding the innumerable costs that come with such an event. The real tragedy is that many heart and brain injuries can prevent you if you do not smoke, be physically active healthy eating and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. Evidence can not be stronger. "