Medical costs of coronary artery disease in the United States

Ellison H. Wittels, Joel W. Hay, Antonio M. Gotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


A model has been developed to determine the cost of coronary artery disease (CAD) based on the 5 primary events identified in the Framingham Study: acute myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, unstable angina pectoris, sudden death and non-sudden death. The costs for diagnostic and therapeutic service for patients with CAD were linked to medical decision algorithms outlining the diagnosis and management of patients with CAD. Because CAD is a changing illness not represented by a single event, the algorithm tracked patients for 5 years after the time of diagnosis, or until death, to develop average cost estimates. The estimated 5-year costs (in 1986 United States dollars) of the 5 CAD events were: acute myocardial infarction $51,211, angina pectoris $24,980, unstable angina pectoris $40,581, sudden death $9,078 and nonsudden death $19,697. The costs of major CAD surgical procedures were also calculated because of their impact on health care costs for patients with CAD. These include: coronary artery bypass surgery per case over 5 years $32,465, and angioplasty per case over 5 years $26,916. The high cost of CAD reflects the improved technology and more effective and expensive therapies now available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-440
Number of pages9
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 15 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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