Aims: Based on an analysis of claims-based data of 8.298 million members of two German statutory health insurance funds, the aim of this contribution is to quantify age-/gender-specific prevalence/incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in a German setting.
Methods and results: Patients were classified as AF prevalent, if they had received at least two outpatient diagnoses of AF (ICD10-Code I48.1-) in two different quarters of the year and/or had received at least one main AF diagnosis during inpatient treatment between 1 January 2007 and 12 December 2008. They were considered to have had new onset AF in 2008 under the following conditions; first, there was no AF diagnosis in 2007; secondly, patients had not received oral anticoagulant medication in 2007; and thirdly, patients had received either one inpatient/two outpatient diagnoses of AF in 2008. In our sample, a total of 176 891 patients had AF. AF prevalence was 2.132%. The average age of these AF patients was 73.1 years, and 55.5% (98 190 patients) were male. The incidence of AF in our sample was 4.358 cases/1000 person-years in men and 3.868 cases/1000 person-years in women.
Conclusion: A comparison of the distribution of AF prevalence/incidence in our population with that in already published studies showed that our figures were higher, especially in the age groups above 70 years. Our data show that in a large industrial nation such as Germany care provision structures are going to be challenged by a requirement to treat more AF patients in the future.