, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 373-378
Date: 15 Jul 2011

The burden of atrial fibrillation in the Netherlands

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Abstract

Background

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained atrial arrhythmia and it is independently associated with an increased morbidity and mortality. As a result of the high prevalence of AF, the economic and clinical impact of the disease is substantial. This study describes the economic and clinical impact of AF in the Netherlands.

Methods

Epidemiological data on AF in the Netherlands were projected on population estimates of the Netherlands in 2009 and combined with data on the cost of AF and its interventions.

Results

Overall prevalence of AF in the Netherlands is 5.5% in the population over 55 years, corresponding to about 250,000 AF patients. The prevalence increases with age, and the mean age of AF patients is 69.3 years. Incidence of AF in the Netherlands varies with age, from 1188 new cases in the age group of 55 to 59 up to 7074 new cases in the age group 75 to 79. Total new cases amounts to 45,085 patients per year in the Netherlands. Total costs of AF in the Netherlands are € 583 million, of which the majority (70%) were accounted for by hospitalisations and in-hospital procedures. Pharmacotherapeutic management of AF totalled € 17 million in the Netherlands in 2009.

Discussion

AF is a serious disease with a high clinical and economic burden, especially due to hospitalisations as a result of cardiovascular events. The number of patients with AF in the Netherlands is considerable and will increase with the ageing population in the future.