The Economic Value of Better Heart Health

By: CBoC Team

Ottawa, May 6, 2023 — Investing in the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of heart valve disease (HVD), particularly for seniors aged 65 and over, will yield substantial health and economic benefits, according to new research from The Conference Board of Canada.

“Both the monetary and non-monetary contributions of seniors are vital for supporting our communities,” said Tony Bonen, Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board of Canada. “However, most analyses of senior health predominantly focus on minimizing their cost to society, while overlooking the broader economic and social value that healthy seniors provide.”

With life expectancy on the rise, the senior population is experiencing significant growth. Concurrently, the number of seniors over 65 years old with HVD, a treatable condition prevalent in older adults, is increasing. Projections indicate that by 2040, the number of patients with HVD in this age group will rise to 1.5 million, underscoring the importance of maintaining a healthy senior population.

The study found that halving the mortality rate of seniors with aortic stenosis (AS), the most common type of HVD, could inject an additional $2.1 billion into the Canadian economy between 2023 and 2040. This economic boost, averaging a contribution of $122 million per year over 17 years, would be driven by a collective 62 million hours spent working, volunteering, and caregiving.

Unfortunately, many individuals in Canada are not considered for treatment until symptoms reach moderate or severe stages. This passive approach delays intervention and can reduce patients’ overall quality of life. Moreover, those undergoing treatment may encounter challenges in accessing care due to long waitlists, as well as disparities in the quality of post-treatment management, which can lead to severe consequences.

The collective incremental economic contributions from healthier, longer-living seniors, that might otherwise be limited by HVD, are significant. Investing in increased awareness, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of HVD will not only promote healthy aging, but also enable Canada to fully realize the social and economic benefits of healthy seniors. According to the research, this calls for a proactive approach that begins before HVD develops. The Conference Board of Canada also wishes to thank members of Edwards Lifesciences Inc. for their help in facilitating and scoping this research project.

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