Trends and predictors of early ablation for Atrial Fibrillation in a Nationwide population under age 65: a retrospective observational study

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2020 Apr 6;20(1):161. doi: 10.1186/s12872-020-01446-9.


Background: Catheter ablation (CA) has emerged as an effective treatment for symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF). However practice patterns and patient factors associated with referral for CA within the first 12 months after diagnosis are poorly characterized. This study examined overall procedural trends and factors predictive of catheter ablation for newly-diagnosed atrial fibrillation in a young, commercially-insured population.

Methods: A large nationally-representative sample of patients age 20 to 64 from years 2010 to 2016 was studied using the IBM MarketScan® Commercial Database. Patients were included with a new diagnosis of AF in the inpatient or outpatient setting with continuous enrollment for at least 1 year pre and post index visit. Patients were excluded if they had prior history of AF or had filled an anti-arrhythmic drug (AAD) in the pre-index period.

Results: Early CA increased from 5.0% in 2010 to 10.5% in 2016. Patients were less likely to undergo CA if they were located in the Northeast (OR: 0.80, CI: 0.73-0.88) or North Central (OR: 0.91, CI: 0.83-0.99) regions (compared with the West), had higher CHA2DS2-VASc scores, or had Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score of 3 or greater (OR: 0.61; CI: 0.51-0.72).

Conclusions: CA within 12 months for new-diagnosed AF increased significantly from 2010 to 2016, with most patients still trialed on an AAD prior to CA. Patients are less likely to be referred for early CA if they are located in the Northeast and North Central regions, have more comorbidities, or higher CHA2DS2-VASc scores.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Catheter ablation; Rhythm control.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects
  • Catheter Ablation / trends*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities / trends*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Time-to-Treatment / trends*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult