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Offbeat: Atrial fibrillation and the cost of preventable strokes

Deloitte Access Economics

One in five Australians suffering a stroke will die within the first month of its occurrence. For the four in five who survive, the impact on quality of life can be considerable, with reductions in mobility, conversation skills, memory, and perception. Sufferers are likely to need the help of family, friends and other carers to perform everyday activities and will almost certainly require ongoing health care services.

At a community-wide level, first-ever strokes occurring in Australia in 2011 are estimated to cost $1.4 billion in the first year and $2.4 billion over five years. Of this total, first-ever strokes specifically due to atrial fibrillation are currently estimated to cost $314.4 million in the first year and $562.7 million over five years.
The aim of this report, commissioned by Boehringer Ingelheim in the interests of improving stroke prevention among Australians, is to:

  • Quantify the extent of atrial fibrillation and the economic and patient burden of associated strokes in Australia
  • Assess how current clinical practice can be improved to reduce this burden

The structure of this report is as follows:

  • Chapter 2 estimates the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed AF in Australia
  • Chapter 3 estimates the incidence and cost of strokes in people with AF in Australia
  • Chapter 4 discusses current stroke prevention treatment practice in Australia, including the proportion of patients currently untreated
  • Chapter 5 estimates the number and cost of strokes in Australia that could potentially be prevented through greater diagnosis and treatment of non-valvular atrial fibrillation
  • Chapter 6 proposes some key recommendations to reduce the burden of stroke in Australia through better management of atrial fibrillation.

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