ESC Congress highlights high cost of cardiovascular disease in the EU

At this year’s ESC Congress, the shocking cost of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the EU was revealed in the most comprehensive analysis since 2006. Figures presented at the conference showed that CVD cost the EU an estimated €282 billion in 2021. Health and long-term care accounted for €155 billion (55%) of these costs, equalling 11% of EU health expenditure. The analysis was a collaborative effort by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the University of Oxford, UK.

Study author, Dr. Ramon Luengo-Fernandez of the University of Oxford, said: “CVD had a significant impact on the EU27 economy, costing a total of €282 billion in 2021. That’s equivalent to 2% of Europe’s GDP and is significantly more than the entire EU budget itself, used to fund research, agriculture, infrastructure and energy across the Union.”

This was the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the economic costs of CVD to society in the EU since 2006. It is the first study to use Europe-wide patient registries and surveys rather than relying on assumptions and, unlike previous reports, includes the costs of long-term social care. The current analysis provides estimates of the societal economic costs of CVD for the 27 members states of the EU in 2021, including 1) health and social care; 2) informal care; and 3) productivity losses. The breakdown includes:

  • €130 billion for healthcare (46%)
  • €25 billion for social care (9%)
  • €79 billion for informal care (28%)
  • €15 billion in productivity losses due to illness/disability (5%)
  • €32 billion in productivity losses due to premature death (12%).

The total cost equated to €630 per EU citizen, ranging from €381 in Cyprus to €903 in Germany.

ESC Board member and study author Professor Victor Aboyans of Limoges University, France said: "This study underscores the urgent need to act collectively on the European scale to better combat the cardiovascular risk of European citizens, in particular through regulations for better cardiovascular prevention and investment in research. By choosing not to invest in cardiovascular disease we are simply deferring the cost. These data force us to ask the question: do we invest in cardiovascular health today or be forced to pay more at a later stage?”

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