The burden of atrial fibrillation on the hospital sector in Canada

Can J Cardiol. 2013 Feb;29(2):229-35. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2012.03.023. Epub 2012 May 30.


Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common disease that frequently requires acute hospital care; however, the cost of hospital care in Canada has not been reported. The purpose of this study was to estimate the cost of AF related to hospital-based care in Canada.

Methods: Analyses were conducted with 2 national administrative databases for the fiscal year 2007-2008. Databases included information for hospital admissions, day operations, and ambulatory care. Records with a most responsible diagnosis of AF, atrial flutter, or a diagnosis related to AF with a concomitant comorbidity of AF were included. Hospital costs were estimated, in 2010 Canadian dollars, by applying an average cost per weighted case to the resource intensity weight for each admission or visit and then adding the separate billable fee for admissions, surgical procedures, and interventions.

Results: In 2007-2008, the number of acute care admissions with AF as the most responsible diagnosis was 22,823, same-day surgical procedures was 5707, and emergency department visits was 58,066. The hospital costs attributable to AF were $815 million in 2010 Canadian dollars: $710 million for hospitalizations; $32 million for same-day surgical procedures; and $73 million for emergency department visits. Most of the acute care costs were for hospitalizations when AF was listed as a comorbidity ($558 million, or 69%).

Conclusion: AF results in a substantial cost burden to the acute care hospital sector. Current hospital costs in AF patients are driven by the consequences of AF, while the costs for specific treatments for AF are relatively low.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / economics*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Flutter / economics*
  • Atrial Flutter / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics*
  • Female
  • Hospital Costs / trends*
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult