Heart surgery jobs are growing at a faster rate than surgical training
The demand for heart surgery has gone up by more than 1,000 per cent in the past year, according to a new report by healthcare workers’ group AAMC.
The group said the surge in demand has been driven by a lack of awareness about the health risks and difficulties faced by patients who have had heart surgery.
A total of 6.2 million people have had surgery in the US since 2010, and more than 3 million are expected to have had it in the next 12 months.
But the demand for cardiac surgery is on the rise, with the demand set to grow by over 40 per cent this year.
A recent study by the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated that the annual cost of heart surgery in 2015 was about $9.2 billion, with around one-third of that going to insurance companies.
AAMCC president Roberta McNeilly said that was an underestimate because many heart surgery patients did not seek medical treatment.
She said the growing demand was an example of why the government should focus on encouraging more people to get heart surgery as a safe and effective alternative to cardiac surgery.
“Our hospitals are seeing a growing number of patients who do not seek surgery for heart disease,” Ms McNeill said.
“They are not really aware of the dangers that could result from this, and it’s making them think about it more.”
In addition, Ms McNeill said some patients did so because they were scared of surgery and were reluctant to go through with it.
“A lot of patients are really afraid of heart disease, and they’re not going to have a procedure that’s going to give them that comfort and that safety, so they’re just avoiding surgery,” she said.
The report found the average cost of surgery for cardiac patients had increased by about $10,000 in the year to May.
The number of cardiac surgery operations in the United States had also increased by almost 400 per cent, from a little over 2,500 operations in 2010 to nearly 10,000 last year.
Dr Peter Giesbrecht, chief executive of AAMAC, said the growth in demand was a problem for hospitals.
“We see more and more patients being referred to us for cardiac surgeries in a very short period of time,” he said.
But Mr McNeills said the increase in demand for surgery was also a sign of the changing demographics of the American population.
“For the first time in history, a lot of Americans are becoming older,” she he said, adding that there were also changes in the health-care landscape.
“I think that is part of the reason why the demand has gone through the roof.”
Mr Giesbrecht said the IOM’s data showed that “a large proportion of the growth that we saw was occurring in the younger population, the baby boomers, in particular”.
A study published earlier this year by the Mayo Clinic found that about two-thirds of people aged 65 and older in the country had heart disease.
Dr Giesberts study found that as the number of Americans who had surgery for cardiovascular disease declined, so did the number who had heart surgeries.
“The older the older the heart,” he told ABC Radio.
“And that’s why it’s really important to get people to the heart surgery sooner.”
The American Heart Association said it was working with hospitals to encourage patients to have heart surgery early.
AAMA spokesperson Katie Brown said: “In the US, we are seeing the number for heart surgeries and our medical providers are working to increase the number and frequency of heart surgeries that we see in the community.”