The risk of experiencing an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) increases with age and Canada's population is aging. The objective of this analysis was to examine trends in the AMI hospitalization rate in Canada between 2002 and 2009 and to estimate the potential increase in the number of AMI hospitalizations over the next decade.
Aggregated data on annual AMI hospitalizations were obtained from the Canadian Institute for Health Information for all provinces and territories, except Quebec, for 2002/03 and 2009/10. Using these data in a Poisson regression model to control for age, gender and year, the rate of AMI hospitalizations was extrapolated between 2010 and 2020. The extrapolated rate and Statistics Canada population projections were used to estimate the number of AMI hospitalizations in 2020.
The rates of AMI hospitalizations by gender and age group showed a decrease between 2002 and 2009 in patients aged ≥ 65 years and relatively stable rates in those aged < 64 years in both males and females. However, the total number of AMI hospitalizations in Canada (excluding Quebec) is projected to increase by 4667 from 51847 in 2009 to 56514 in 2020, a 9.0% increase. Inflating this number to account for the unavailable Quebec data results in an increase of approximately 6200 for the whole of Canada. This would amount to an additional cost of between $46 and $54 million and sensitivity analyses indicate that it could be between $36 and $65 million.
Despite projected decreasing or stable rates of AMI hospitalization, the number of hospitalizations is expected to increase substantially as a result of the aging of the Canadian population. The cost of these hospitalizations will be substantial. An increase of this extent in the number of AMI hospitalizations and the ensuing costs would significantly impact the already over-stretched Canadian healthcare system.