Epidemiology and the financial impact of heart problems in children

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Heart failure in children: A chronic condition with significant financial implications

Heart failure is a chronic condition characterized by ventricular filling distortion and blood ejection. Heart failure in children is characterized by stunted development and growth, trouble breathing, weariness, and unease during physical activities. While there are many causes of heart failure in children, heart failure and treatment are exceedingly costly in terms of money, time, and life worth. An investigation into the many financial effects of heart failure in children will highlight the multifaceted issues that children confront and, as a result, assist policymakers and connected institutions in providing incentives to minimize and appropriate inexpensive and appropriate quality healthcare for children admitted for heart failure complications. Key words: Heart failure, children, cost, quality of life, healthcare.

Epidemiology and the financial impact of heart problems in children

The occurrence of heart failure in adults is characterized by obesity and the resistance of insulin among other factors. Heart failure in children is propagated by slightly different factors which include inheritance affiliated problems, Kawasaki malady, cardiomyopathies, myocarditis, congenital heart defect (CHD), as well as rhythm orders. Secondary courses such as chemotherapies for processes of oncological nature may also contribute to heart failure. Congenital heart defects have been realized to be the major cause of heart failure in the world. Belgium and America for instance, has recorded high number of children with heart failure as a result of CHD. Cardiomyopathies on the other hand are primary causes of heart failure and rarely affect children.

Financial burden on children and families

Children suffering from heart problems, together with their parents, guardians and relatives, incur a lot of expenses in the process of seeking medication. Statistics from 2009 indicated that hospital admissions had a minimum of $70,000. With current statistics still not fully crunched, hospital admission fees are likely to be higher than it was a decade ago. Children with respiratory failure often require support of their mechanical process. This means that devices such as extracorporeal oxygenated membrane are employed for assistance. Such services are accompanied by expenses of not less than $450,000 (Nandi & Rossano, 2015). This figure, ideally does not reflect the total cost incurred since the child’s condition determines the additional cost to be met; in case of heart problem-related issues such as stroke or failure of the renal, the treatment expenses increase.

Extended hospital stays and additional costs

The article submits that children aged 1 year and below form the greatest percentage of persons suffering from heart problems. It has been noted that the children consequently have longer hospital days than adults – usually 26 days or more. This therefore means that they pay more. It therefore becomes quite expensive for such children to cater for inpatient bills, bills on devices used to offer mechanical support and ultimately the treatment received during their stay in hospital.

Outpatient expenses and the impact on productivity

Cases of chronic ailment such as heart failure are mostly given inpatient option. Additional costs incurred by children are realized during examination processes which includes monitoring the child’s condition before admission in hospitals. The child may undergo echocardiograms, outpatient laboratory tests or even catheterization of the cardiac. Some children opt to seek medication from therapists once co-morbidities such as stroke develop. Others seek genetic testing to discover whether the disease is of inherited nature or not, so as to opt for better medication. All these indicate expenses that are likely to be incurred by outpatients. A double cost is likely to be incurred in case the child’s condition becomes more complex. This would result to further treatment and more care giving. Another major cost is realized when the guardians do not attend to their work schedules in order for them to offer support to their ailing children. Ultimately, direct and indirect cost of heart failure are realized. However, direct cost- which pertains to medical expenses is higher than the indirect cost. This is as a result of early mortality and decreased productivity.

The role of nurses in managing pediatric heart failure patients

While nurses are responsible for the care of pediatric heart failure patients, there is the need for them to play a more vigilant role in ensuring that patients are well monitored in order to deter any hospital acquired conditions – which greatly increase the length of days for patients with chronic diseases. Additionally, nurse specialists need to promote preventive care for clients under various insurance programs. This allows individuals to early identify and avert chronic heart complications for parents and later for their potential children.


Nandi, D., & Rossano, J. W. (December 01, 2015). Epidemiology and cost of heart failure in children. Cardiology in the Young, 25, 8, 1460-1468. http://doi.org/10.1017/S1047951115002280

June 06, 2023



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