Early mortality after inpatient versus outpatient catheter ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation

Heart Rhythm. 2023 Jun;20(6):833-841. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2023.02.016. Epub 2023 Feb 20.


Background: Rates of early mortality and complications after catheter ablation (CA) of atrial fibrillation (AF) vary across health care settings.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify the rate and predictors of early mortality (within 30 days) after CA in the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Methods: Using the Medicare Fee for Service database, we analyzed 122,289 patients who underwent CA for treatment of AF between 2016 and 2019 to define 30-day mortality in both inpatients and outpatients. Odds of adjusted mortality were assessed with several methods, including inverse probability of treatment weighting.

Results: Mean age was 71.9 ± 6.7 years, 44% were women, and mean CHA2DS2-VASc score was 3.2 ± 1.7. Overall, 82% underwent AF ablation as an outpatient. Mortality rate 30 days after CA was 0.6%, with inpatients accounting for 71.5% of deaths (P <.001). Early mortality rates were 0.2% for outpatient procedures and 2.4% for inpatient procedures. The prevalence of comorbidities was significantly higher in patients with early mortality. Patients with early mortality had significantly higher rates of postprocedural complications. After adjustment, inpatient ablation was significantly associated with early mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.81; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.87-5.08; P <.001). Hospitals with high overall ablation volume had 31% lower odds of early mortality (highest vs lowest tertile: aOR 0.69; 95% CI 0.56-0.86; P <.001).

Conclusion: AF ablation conducted in the inpatient setting is associated with a higher rate of early mortality compared with outpatient AF ablation. Comorbidities are associated with enhanced risk of early mortality. High overall ablation volume is associated with a lower risk of early mortality.

Keywords: Arrhythmia; Atrial fibrillation; Catheter ablation; Early mortality; Inpatient; Outpatient; Rhythm control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation*
  • Catheter Ablation* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Medicare
  • Outpatients
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology