Economic Interest

americans have a heart attack, 300,000 of whom die before receiving medical attention. Similarly, cardiovascular disease is a major health problem in Europe, causing 50% or more of all deaths at considerable cost to health services.

The cost of cardiovascular diseases and stroke in the United States is estimated at nearly $300 billion every year. This figure includes health expenditures (direct costs) and lost productivity resulting from morbidity and mortality (indirect costs). Coronary artery bypass surgery is the most frequently prescribed surgical procedure for heart disease, costing $10 billion per year. Nearly 20,000 people die every year as a result of bypass surgery or angioplasty (ballooning of the occluded artery, average cost $50,000).

In Europe, cardiovascular diseases now contribute 18.5% of all the disability adjusted life years in the established market economies of Europe, and demographic projections over the next 20 years alone suggest a 40% increase in the societal burden. This burden is much greater with stroke than heart disease, since a greater proportion of individuals survive a stroke and are usually prone to being more physically and mentally handicapped thereafter than those surviving with heart diseases. Currently, a substantial proportion of the health budget of the European Union is taken with dealing with cardiovascular problems.

Additionally to the burden that such expenses represent to state budgets, pharmaceuticals companies face the high cost of failure in drug development and discovery of new biomaterials. It is crucial that researchers provide high-quality tools and low-expensive, high-throughput methods to allow economical optimization of drug development and biomaterial testing processes.

Micrografs showing platelet interactions with biomaterial fibers for prosthetic devices, tested for potential thrombogenicity following a modification of annular chamber perfusion techniques. Left: cross-section; right: longitudinal section (x150). Click on pictures to enlarge.

Short movie illustrating the possibilities of perfusion technologies to the investigation of the reactivity of stents using confocal microscopy

(Pictures are courtesy of M. Pino. For image uses, please see Use of Content at Legal Information).

Bibliography

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