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What Heart Attack & Stroke Mean to EU Workplaces

Heart attack and stroke don’t just affect patients across Europe, new research reveals.  These cardiovascular events also impact the EU’s national economies – by increasing absenteeism and reducing productivity in workplaces across the region.

Productivity Loss & Economic Impact

Among patients who returned to work, having a heart attack or stroke was associated with losing approximately 25% of workdays each year.

  • Absenteeism by cardiovascular patients comprised the vast majority of this loss, with patients averaging 59 days away from work after a heart attack and 56 after a stroke.
  • Absenteeism by caregivers accounted for the remaining loss, with caregivers missing roughly 11 days after a heart attack and 12 following a stroke.

Lost productivity includes hospitalization following the heart attack or stroke, or use of sick leave once a patient is discharged from the hospital.  But it can also reflect time spent on follow-up medical appointments or patients not working at their full capacity because they feel unwell.

What does absenteeism and lost productivity cost workplaces?  A lot. The average loss per patient was €13,953 for a heart attack and €13,773 for a stroke.

The Full Picture

The new data provides a fuller and more realistic picture of what cardiovascular events cost the European Union.  Previous financial impact figures consider only direct medical costs, which range from €1,547 to €18,642 for heart attack, and €5,575 to €31,274 for stroke.  When including the indirect economic impact, however, the total burden is “more than twice” the amount previously reported, according to the study’s lead author.

This collective economic impact, and the fact that more than 80% of premature heart disease is preventable, might encourage policymakers to invest in cardiovascular disease prevention.  Given the number of constituents who may be patients, caregivers or employers, the issue is just one of many health care priorities that should be top of mind in the EU ahead of the 2019 parliamentary election.