Background: Heart failure (HF) imposes both direct costs to healthcare systems and indirect costs to society through morbidity, unpaid care costs, premature mortality and lost productivity. The global economic burden of HF is not known.
Methods: We estimated the overall cost of heart failure in 2012, in both direct and indirect terms, across the globe. Existing country-specific heart failure costs analyses were expressed as a proportion of gross domestic product and total healthcare spend. Using World Bank data, these proportional values were used to interpolate the economic cost of HF for countries of the world where no published data exists. Countries were categorized according to their level of economic development to investigate global patterns of spending.
Results: 197 countries were included in the analysis, covering 98.7% of the world's population. The overall economic cost of HF in 2012 was estimated at $108 billion per annum. Direct costs accounted for ~60% ($65 billion) and indirect costs accounted for ~40% ($43 billion) of the overall spend. Heart failure spending varied widely between high-income and middle and low-income countries. High-income countries spend a greater proportion on direct costs: a pattern reversed for middle and low-income countries.
Conclusions: Heart failure imposes a huge economic burden, estimated at $108 billion per annum. With an aging, rapidly expanding and industrializing global population this value will continue to rise.
Keywords: Cost and cost analysis; Economics; Heart failure.
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