The healthcare costs of heart failure during the last five years of life: A retrospective cohort study

William Hollingworth, Mousumi Biswas, Rachel L Maishman, Mark J Dayer, Theresa McDonagh, Sarah Purdy, Barnaby C Reeves, Chris A Rogers, Rachael Williams , Maria Pufulete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence on the economic impact of heart failure (HF) is vital in order to predict the cost-effectiveness of novel interventions. We estimate the health system costs of HF during the last five years of life.

We used linked primary care and mortality data accessed through the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) to identify 1555 adults in England who died with HF in 2012/13. We used CPRD and linked Hospital Episode Statistics to estimate the cost of medications, primary and hospital healthcare. Using GLS regression we estimated the relationship between costs, HF diagnosis, proximity to death and patient characteristics.

In the last 3 months of life, healthcare costs were £8827 (95% CI £8357 to £9296) per patient, more than 90% of which were for inpatient or critical care. In the last 3 months, patients spent on average 17.8 (95% CI 16.8 to 18.8) days in hospital and had 8.8 (95% CI 8.4 to 9.1) primary care consultations. Most (931/1555; 59.9%) patients were in hospital on the day of death. Mean quarterly healthcare costs in quarters after HF diagnosis were higher (£1439; [95% CI £1260 to £1619]) than in quarters preceding diagnosis. Older patients and patients with lower comorbidity scores had lower costs.

Healthcare costs increase sharply at the end of life and are dominated by hospital care. There is potential to save money by implementation and evaluation of interventions that are known to reduce hospitalisations for HF, particularly at the end of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132–138
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Early online date15 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Health care costs; HF; Terminal care; Hospital costs

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