There are 20,000 sudden cardiac arrests (SCAs) in Australia annually, with 90% case-fatality.
The present study calculated both the health and economic impact of SCAs in Victoria, Australia.
Data on all SCAs attended by Ambulance Victoria from July 2017 to June 2018 were collected regarding age, gender, and survival to hospital, discharge and 12 months. Pre-SCA employment status of all patients was modelled using age and gender-matched Australian economic data. A Markov state-transition model with a five-year horizon calculated health and economic impact in years of life lived (YLL), productivity-adjusted life years (PALYs) and gross domestic product (GDP) lost. A counterfactual Markov state-transition model assessed outcomes of an identical cohort of patients who did not experience SCA. All values were discounted by 5%.
In 12 months, 4637 people suffered SCAs in Victoria, of whom 1516 (32.7%) were working at the time. 695 patients (15.0%) survived to hospital, 325 (7.0%) to discharge, and 303 (6.5%) to 12 months. In five years following their SCA, the cohort lost 15,922 years of life and 2327 PALYs. Reduced productivity led to GDP losses of AUD$448 million (92.8% relative reduction). Extrapolated to the 20,000 SCAs occurring across all of Australia, total GDP losses approached AUD$2 billion.
The health and economic burden of SCAs is high, predominantly underpinned by very high mortality. Annual national losses approach AUD$2 billion (USD$1.42 billion) and are comparable to productivity losses from all cancers combined. Prioritising research and state-of-the-art care for SCA patients appears economically sound.
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Published online: April 15, 2021
Accepted: April 1, 2021
Received in revised form: February 15, 2021
Received: November 29, 2020
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