, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 847-857
Date: 19 Sep 2009

Cost of atrial fibrillation in United States managed care organizations

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) has been shown to be associated with high healthcare costs; however, limited data are available from large-scale studies quantifying the overall cost burden of AF in the USA. We therefore aimed to provide an up to date estimate of the overall per-patient costs of AF in managed care organizations across the USA.


This retrospective cohort study used claims data from the Integrated Healthcare Information Systems National Managed Care Benchmark Database from January 2005 to December 2006. Patients included in the analysis were aged ≥20 years and had at least two outpatient AF-related claims without hospitalization, or a hospitalization with a primary or secondary discharge diagnosis of AF in 2005. AF-related inpatient and outpatient costs over 12 months from the initial outpatient claim or first hospitalization were examined. For secondary AF hospitalizations, incremental costs associated with AF were measured by comparing costs for patients with AF with a group of matched controls hospitalized without AF.


In total, 35,255 patients diagnosed as having AF (5008 with a primary AF diagnosis, 10,776 with a secondary AF diagnosis, 19,471 with outpatient-managed AF), and 20,571 controls without AF, were included in the analysis. Over 12 months, for primary AF hospitalization patients, inpatient costs were $11,306.53 and outpatient costs were $2826.78 (total $14,133.30) per patient. For hospitalized patients with secondary AF, incremental AF-related inpatient costs were $5181.19 and outpatient costs were $1376.33 (total $6557.52). For AF patients with outpatient management in 2005, 12-month AF-related costs were $2177.30 ($175.47 for AF hospitalizations in 2006 and $2001.85 for outpatient costs).


Overall costs of AF in the US managed care organizations are high. Costs are primarily due to inpatient expenses. Improved disease management strategies to reduce AF-related hospitalizations and decrease the overall cost burden of AF are needed.