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Open Access Research article

Societal costs of non-cardiac chest pain compared with ischemic heart disease - a longitudinal study

Ghassan Mourad1*, Jenny Alwin2, Anna Strömberg3 and Tiny Jaarsma1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Division of Health, Activity and Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Kungsgatan 40, 601 74, Norrköping, Sweden

2 Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Healthcare Analysis, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

3 Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:403  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-403

Published: 9 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP) is a common complaint. Our aim was to present a detailed description of the costs of patients with NCCP compared to patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and Angina Pectoris (AP) from a societal perspective.

Methods

Data on healthcare utilization and annual societal costs, including direct healthcare costs and indirect costs due to productivity loss, were collected from different databases. The participants consisted of 199 patients from a general hospital in Sweden (99 with NCCP, 51 with AMI, 49 with AP), mean age of 67 years, 59% men.

Results

NCCP, AMI, and AP patients had on average 54, 50 and 65 primary care contacts and 3, 4, and 4 hospital admissions during a period of 2 years. Length of hospital stay was 6, 11 and 11 days. On average, 14%, 18%, and 25% of NCCP, AMI and AP patients were on sick-leave annually, and about 12% in each group received a disability pension. The mean annual societal costs of NCCP, AMI and AP patients were €10,068, €15,989 and €14,737.

Conclusions

Although the annual societal cost of NCCP patients was lower than in AMI and AP patients, the cost was still considerable (€10,068). Taken into account the high prevalence of NCCP, the cumulative annual national cost of these patients could be more than the double of AMI and AP if all patients incurred the same costs as in this study. Targeted interventions are important in order to support patients with NCCP and minimize healthcare utilization and costs.

Keywords:
Non-cardiac chest pain; Ischemic heart disease; Healthcare utilization; Societal costs; Direct costs; Indirect costs