Success Pumps Up Cost of Heart Attack Care

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2009 6:37 AM CDT
Treatment for heart attacks has soared from $5,700 in 1977 to $54,400 in 2007.   (AP Photo/Press-Register, John David Mercer)
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(Newser) – Advanced treatments have given heart attack victims a vastly better chance of survival than decades ago, but at chest-clutching prices, reports the Washington Post. In the 1960s, up to 40% of patients died soon after a heart attack. Today, it's only 6%. But treatment cost $5,700 in 1977—and a huge $54,400 per person in 2007.

Heart disease—America's No. 1 killer—will cost a total of some $93 billion this year, a huge part of the $2.3 trillion annual US bill for medical care. The price comes from more treatment for more people at greater expense with better results. Treatment costs for cancer, arthritis, HIV, and other conditions have also jumped.