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The Impact of Prevention on Reducing the Burden of Cardiovascular Disease

Kahn, Richard, Robertson, Rose Marie, Smith, Robert, Eddy, David
Diabetes care 2008 v.31 no.8 pp. 1686-1696
adults, aspirin, blood pressure, clinical trials, compliance, coronary artery disease, diabetes, longevity, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, morbidity, mortality, myocardial infarction, nutrition education, people, prices, quality of life, simulation models, surveys, weight loss, United States
OBJECTIVE:--Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is prevalent and expensive. While many interventions are recommended to prevent CVD, the potential effects of a comprehensive set of prevention activities on CVD morbidity, mortality, and costs have never been evaluated. We therefore determined the effects of 11 nationally recommended prevention activities on CVD-related morbidity, mortality, and costs in the U.S. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS--We used person-specific data from a representative sample of the U.S. population (National Health and Nutrition Education Survey IV) to determine the number and characteristics of adults aged 20-80 years in the U.S. today who are candidates for different prevention activities related to CVD. We used the Archimedes model to create a simulated population that matched the real U.S. population, person by person. We then used the model to simulate a series of clinical trials that examined the effects over the next 30 years of applying each prevention activity one by one, or altogether, to those who are candidates for the various activities and compared the health outcomes, quality of life, and direct medical costs to current levels of prevention and care. We did this under two sets of assumptions about performance and compliance: 100% success for each activity and lower levels of success considered aggressive but still feasible. RESULTS:--Approximately 78% of adults aged 20-80 years alive today in the U.S. are candidates for at least one prevention activity. If everyone received the activities for which they are eligible, myocardial infarctions and strokes would be reduced by ~63% and 31%, respectively. If more feasible levels of performance are assumed, myocardial infarctions and strokes would be reduced ~36% and 20%, respectively. Implementation of all prevention activities would add ~221 million life-years and 244 million quality-adjusted life-years to the U.S. adult population over the coming 30 years, or an average of 1.3 years of life expectancy for all adults. Of the specific prevention activities, the greatest benefits to the U.S. population come from providing aspirin to high-risk individuals, controlling pre-diabetes, weight reduction in obese individuals, lowering blood pressure in people with diabetes, and lowering LDL cholesterol in people with existing coronary artery disease (CAD). As currently delivered and at current prices, most prevention activities are expensive when considering direct medical costs; smoking cessation is the only prevention strategy that is cost-saving over 30 years. CONCLUSIONS:--Aggressive application of nationally recommended prevention activities could prevent a high proportion of the CAD events and strokes that are otherwise expected to occur in adults in the U.S. today. However, as they are currently delivered, most of the prevention activities will substantially increase costs. If preventive strategies are to achieve their full potential, ways must be found to reduce the costs and deliver prevention activities more efficiently.