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Intensive Medical Care and Cardiovascular Disease Disability Reductions

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Mary Beth Landrum
  • Kate A. Stewart

Abstract

There is little empirical evidence to explain why disability declined among the elderly over the past 20 years. In this paper, we explore the role of improved medical care for cardiovascular disease on health status improvements over time. We show that the incidence of cardiovascular disease hospitalizations remained relatively constant between 1984 and 1999 at the same time that post-event survival improved and disability declined. We find that use of appropriate therapies, including pharmaceuticals such as beta-blockers, aspirin, and ace-inhibitors, and invasive procedures, explains up to 50% and 70% of the reductions in disability and death over time, respectively. Elderly patients living in regions with high use of appropriate medical therapies had better health outcomes than patients living in low-use areas. Finally, we estimate that preventing disability after an acute event can add as much as 3.7 years of quality-adjusted life expectancy, or $316,000 of value.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12184.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Publication status: published as Cutler, David and David Wise (eds.) Health at Older Ages: The Causes and Consequences of Declining Disability Among the Elderly. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12184

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Cited by:
  1. Svensson, Mikael, 2007. "Do not go breaking your heart: Do economic upturns really increase heart attack mortality?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 833-841, August.
  2. Manuel García-Goñi & Pere Ibern & José María Inoriza, 2009. "Hybrid risk adjustment for pharmaceutical benefits," Working Papers, Research Center on Health and Economics 1139, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Dormont, Brigitte, 2009. "Les dépenses de santé : une augmentation salutaire ?," Opuscules du CEPREMAP, CEPREMAP, number 15, May.
  4. Manuel García-Goñi & Pere Ibern & José María Inoriza, 2009. "Hybrid risk adjustment for pharmaceutical benefits," Economics Working Papers 1139, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. John A. Turner, 2007. "Work at Older Ages: Is Raising the Early Retirement Age an Option for Social Security Reform?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-13, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jun 2007.

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