Objective: We reviewed literature published from 1995 to 2002 to highlight findings on the economic burden of heart failure (HF). Methods A key-word search of literature indexes for relevant citations identified 54 articles that were then summarized for findings on HF economics.
Results: Results were described in terms of burden of illness, cost-effectiveness analysis, and resource utilization and costs. Hospitalization of the elderly is the driving force behind HF costs. Interventions that decrease the frequency of hospital admissions while maintaining clinical and patient reported outcomes are considered a high priority among decision makers and clinicians. Although the cost-effectiveness of therapy with beta-adrenergic blocking agents has been well established in the literature, the cost-effectiveness of hospital- or home-based HF management programs is still under debate. The issues of payer status and physician specialty impact on decreased hospital admission and cost have been inconclusive.
Conclusions: Any intervention capable of decreasing even a small fraction of adverse outcomes, most notably hospital admission and length of stay, could trigger significant cost savings in the management of HF. Public policy makers, together with clinicians identifying cost saving or cost-effective interventions in their practice, are expected to increase their efforts to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and outcomes of medical and pharmacologic interventions in HF.