Morbidity and Financial Costs of Atrial Fibrillation High and Likely to Grow Interview with:

Sandra L. Jackson, PhD National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chamblee GA

Dr. Sandra  Jackson

Sandra L. Jackson, PhD
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Chamblee GA What is the background for this study?

Response: People who have atrial fibrillation are at increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke. While we know that the percentage of the population with atrial fibrillation is increasing in the US, there is no national surveillance system to track the burden of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to atrial fibrillation across all ages and health insurance provider types. This study combined data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and the National Vital Statistics System to provide national estimates for atrial fibrillation-related healthcare service use and deaths from 2006-2014. What are the main findings?

Response: In 2014, almost 700,000 events occurred where atrial fibrillation was the primary diagnosis during an emergency department visit or hospitalization or the primary cause of a death. In addition, almost 4.7 million events occurred where atrial fibrillation was listed as a secondary diagnosis or secondary cause of death. Event rates for primary and secondary atrial fibrillation increased from 2006 to 2014. The estimated mean cost per hospitalization with primary atrial fibrillation was over $8,800 in 2014, and the presence of atrial fibrillation as a secondary condition was associated with significantly increased hospitalization costs.

The majority of the burden of care for people with atrial fibrillation impacts Medicare, as approximately two thirds of emergency department visits and hospitalizations with primary atrial fibrillation, and over 80% with secondary atrial fibrillation, occurred among Medicare beneficiaries. Among hospitalizations with primary atrial fibrillation, other cardiovascular diagnoses were common, especially hypertension (over 2 of every 3), heart failure (nearly 1 of every 2), ischemic heart disease (around 1 of every 3), and diabetes (around 1 of every 4). What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The healthcare and mortality burden of atrial fibrillation in the US is substantial, and it will likely continue to grow as the population ages. Given the considerable health and economic impact of atrial fibrillation, improved diagnosis, prevention, management, and surveillance of atrial fibrillation is increasingly important. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research could examine trends in atrial fibrillation management, including outpatient burden, prescriptions, and procedures, as well as actionable prevention strategies to curb the rising burden of atrial fibrillation. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors report no conflicts of interest or financial disclosures. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Citation: Emergency Department, Hospital Inpatient, and Mortality Burden of Atrial Fibrillation in the United States, 2006-2014 

  • Sandra L. Jackson,PhDa, , ,
  • Xin Tong,MPHa,
  • Xiaoping Yin,MSa,
  • Mary G. George,MDa,
  • Matthew D. Ritchey,PTa
  • aNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee GA

Available online 30 August 2017 The American Journal of Cardiology


Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.







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