Healthcare utilization and expenditures in patients with atrial fibrillation treated with catheter ablation

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2012 Jan;23(1):1-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8167.2011.02130.x. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


Aim: The aim was to estimate the impact of catheter ablation on short- and long-term healthcare utilization and expenditures among atrial fibrillation (AF) patients in general and Medicare populations.

Methods: Data were analyzed from The MarketScan(®) Databases. MarketScan data contain deidentified patient-level records from employer-sponsored and public health insurance plans. Multivariable regression models for utilization and expenditures were built for all patients, with subanalyses performed for patients ≥65 years. Results were compared to preablation figures and reported for 5 time groups, based on duration of available postablation follow-up: 6-12 months; 12-18 months; 18-24 months; 24-30 months; and 30-36 months.

Results: A total of 3,194 patients were identified who had undergone catheter ablation for treatment of AF, had continuous enrollment in the database 6 months prior to first ablation, and had at least 1-year follow-up postablation. Compared to the 6 months prior to ablation, there were significant reductions in the number of outpatient appointments, inpatient days, and emergency room visits in the total study population and in the subset ≥65 years. There was a statistically significant (P < 0.01) decrease in total healthcare expenditures across 4 of the 5 6-month time periods, with annual savings ranging from $3,300 to $9,200. For patients ≥65 years, annual savings ranged from $3,200 to $9,200. Drug utilization also significantly declined (P < 0.01), with average annual medication savings ranging from $670 to $890, and from $740 to $880 for patients ≥65 years.

Conclusion: Catheter ablation for AF reduced healthcare utilization and expenditures up to 3 years postablation. This reduction was consistent, significant, and had implications for general and Medicare populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Atrial Fibrillation / economics*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation / economics*
  • Catheter Ablation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cost Savings
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Costs
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Health Resources / economics*
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Medicare / economics
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits / economics
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Regression Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States