Heart attacks cost economy $6.8b in 12 months: report

More people are surviving heart attacks, but survival comes at a cost.

Heart attacks cost economy $6.8b in 12 months: report

The good news is that more people are surviving heart attacks due to improvements in treatment and the development of an early warning system; the bad news is that survival comes at a high cost.

The Heart Foundation has today detailed the economic cost to the individual and to the economy of acute coronary syndrome (ACS), which includes heart attack and unstable angina, with cardiac arrests on average claiming one Australian almost every hour.

Average out-of-pocket expenses in the 12 months following a heart attack were $3100, according to the report, The Economic Cost of Acute Coronary Syndrome in Australia: The Cost to Individuals and Their Families.

The total economic cost of heart attacks in 2017–18 was $6.8 billion, the Heart Foundation report said, with healthcare costs, including hospital stays, put at $1.9 billion and loss of income at $3.5 billion.

The average cost to an individual and his or her family over a lifetime was $68,000.

Heart Foundation National chief executive Adjunct Professor John Kelly said: “These figures are concerning as more than 1.4 million Australians are at high risk of having their first heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

“Preventing heart attacks and strokes from happening in the first place and improving outcomes for those who have these life-threatening heart events needs to be a high priority for all governments and the community.

“A heart attack is not a one-off event. It’s a life-changer, with long-term after-effects. The average cost of a heart attack to an individual and their family over a lifetime is $68,000. This includes lost income, out-of-pocket expenses like rehabilitation and medication, and informal care from family and friends, such as the time taken to provide basic nursing.”

Meanwhile, world-first research led by the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute has shown that it may be possible to both identify those at risk of a heart attack and prevent one from occurring.

Researchers have shown that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, after the injection of a chemical probe, can be used to identify the presence of dangerous plaques in coronary arteries.

Professor Stocker, Head of Vascular Biology, said: “We now have the potential tools to specifically identify those at high risk of heart attack by using non-invasive MRI to detect vascular inflammation.

“Aside from leading a healthy lifestyle, this ‘early warning system’ could be our best defence against heart attacks, many of which may be fatal.”

Do healthcare costs worry you? Do you have a plan in place for a health scare?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    3rd Aug 2018
    Western cultures eat the wrong sorts of foods to excess and are becoming fat (bad) and getting clogged arteries (fatal).
    Heart attacks/disease is an ailment of western culture. It's a result of the good life where most of us do not exercise enough and eat badly. Then we expect our fellow citizens to stump up the money to fix the results.

    We need legislation in the health care industry to force smokers, drug takers and those who kill themselves with alcohol to be removed from the top of the healthcare list and asked to fund their own medical issues. Whilst this would not be a popular view and would create hardships it is the only way to change self harm due to a chosen lifestyle....with the obvious results. Just imagine the health dollars this would free up for GENUINE illnesses as well as the dollars saved which could be better spent elsewhere in society....like paying a pension rather than attacking retirees.
    3rd Aug 2018
    MICK we all die somehow and a heart attack is the kindest way to die of them all. - Its just we get saved now to suffer cancer and dementia or stroke.
    Medical procedures cost and they have the ability to keep people alive longer and longer. Ultimately our lives are going to equate to how much money we have (or the government has) left in the bank.
    3rd Aug 2018
    Understood but there are too many people who knock themselves about relentlessly and then go to the front of the queue demanding immediate treatment. The rest of society pays of course.
    It is time this ended and that those who want to cause their own ills pay for themselves. That'll be a real popular suggestion to those who have rights.
    3rd Aug 2018
    However, then the queue may put the elderly last because they have lived a life, then the unemployed because they serve no one, then the disabled because they are a burden.
    Everyone needs to be cared for and those who abuse themselves need more help than others.
    I heard people over 60 in China to don't receive medical benefits. Would you want that to be our Australia?
    Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, Eating junk food is a problem caused by our society and is a far greater issue than the individual.
    Everyone has a right to care.
    3rd Aug 2018
    Mick you should add food to your list of drugs, smokes and grog! With 2/3rd Australians overweight or obese that is a more serious situation than the trio you want to legislate.
    3rd Aug 2018
    I would say the average cost to a family is far higher than $68K because there is a really good chance they will retire early.
    3rd Aug 2018
    I can’t stress about health costs which is why we’ve maintained our health fund and have set aside a small amount in a medical account. Sure, you can try and lead a healthy lifestyle but all of us know previously healthy people who have been struck down with all sorts of cancers, joint replacements, cataracts and heart attacks. You can’t plan for these things. sometimes feel that the health industry just wants us to have checkups, scans etc even when there is no history of problems. I go to the doctor when I’m sick, have yearly skin check, regular mammograms. That’s it!
    3rd Aug 2018
    You are a decent Australian who is not burdening other Australians. Congratulations. Hope you live forever.
    3rd Aug 2018
    Yeah - I know how much private health premiums cost these days. But it is a lottery we can afford and do not want to win. Better than losing the money in slot machines.
    The pom
    3rd Aug 2018
    About 30 years ago I was a very fit man who trained most days. During a marathon I strted to feel crook at about the 12 km mark so slowed to a walk, walked for quite a distance then felt OK and ran the rest but much slower than my anticipated time. Saw my doctor a couple of days later, who referred me to a cardiologist who told me I had had a heart attack. Triple bypass surgery, and no more full marathons, but continued running and bike riding. Now well into my 80s still quite active, but watching what I eat, and seeing a cardiologist every six months for a check, who thinks I should continue as I am going
    3rd Aug 2018
    Keep doing what you are doing! They got you in time. Good luck for your 100th!
    3rd Aug 2018
    I'm approaching mid seventies now but in 2012 my brother who is three years younger and considerably slimmer than I am had a full on severe chest pain heart attack driving his car and manged to drive right to the entrance of the emergency dept. of a major hospital where he literally collapsed through the doors onto the floor(nothing like a dramatic entrance to be seen to quickly he maintains). They inserted a stent in one of his coronary arteries within about an hour and performed the full triple bypass about a week later. He is now back playing competitive social tennis and still works leading a normal active life. My brother has never smoked, was only a very light social drinker and was always very careful about what he ate.
    All this of course prompted me to see a cardiologist myself because of a significant family history of coronary artery disease and an angiogram showed considerable partial blockages which weren't fixable with stents resulting in my own triple bypass surgery about a year after my brother's.
    I often think of how lucky we both are to have been born in these times when such complicated(and in earlier times dangerous) surgery is now seen as such a routine and safe procedure.
    3rd Aug 2018
    Everybody dies, that’s something we can’t escape, I was a smoker for many years, I started smoking when it was excepted and was part of most social activity, once you get hooked like any other drug it’s hard to give up, I still managed to keep myself fit playing sport competitively until in my early 60s and played golf into my late 60s. I fully realise and except my responsibility for my own life style. I worked in heavy industry for most of my life working around blast furnaces which included working in steel making and copper smelting, as anyone who has worked in these industries will tell you the toxic atmosphere that we worked in wasn’t conducive to a healthy life nor was working shift work which I did for almost 50 years, its been proven that shift work alone can dramatically shorten your life expectancy, so because I was a smoker which was not only excepted for many years it was quite often encouraged and let’s not forget it was and still is legal, but some people think that because of my past behaviour I should some how be penalised, so I guess we should all have a good look at our past behaviour, how many people used salt excessively, salt is one of the contributors of high blood pressure which can lead to strokes and heart attacks, so the salt users will have to go to the back of the queue, now let’s see which other forms of self abuse we can identify, obesity caused by over eating, diabetes that can also be caused by over eating and drinking to excess, so off to the back of the queue for them, what about others that engage in dangerous activity well they are putting themselves at risk, so footballers, racing drivers, jockeys and I guess even everyday motorist, the back of the queue is getting longer, so the only people at the front of the queue will be those that have a genetic condition or those that have led a perfect life, I am not condoning poor health choices but in the past we were not aware of many of the dangers, so for our sins off we go to the back of the queue, oh well I will be in good company.

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