Applied Health Economics and Health Policy

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 59–71

Economic Burden and Disparities in Healthcare Resource Use Among Adult Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmia

  • Derek H. Tang
  • Adrienne M. Gilligan
  • Klaus Romero
Original Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s40258-013-0070-9

Cite this article as:
Tang, D.H., Gilligan, A.M. & Romero, K. Appl Health Econ Health Policy (2014) 12: 59. doi:10.1007/s40258-013-0070-9



As of 2012, approximately 4.3 million Americans experience some form of cardiac arrhythmia (CA). Assessment of economic burden and healthcare resource use on the overall CA population is limited.


To assess healthcare expenditure and disparities in healthcare resource use in patients with all forms of CA in the US.


Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were analyzed between 2004 and 2009. Patients aged ≥18 years with any form of CA (identified via International Classification of Disorders Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] codes) were included. Primary independent variables included age, gender, race/ethnicity, and pharmacotherapy use. Outcomes of interest included total annual healthcare and prescription expenditures (inflation adjusted to 2011), use of anti-arrhythmic agents associated with CA, and inpatient, outpatient, or emergency room visits. Generalized linear models were used to assess the disparities across patient subgroups related to the outcomes.


Annually, 5,750,440 individuals experienced CA in the US. Total direct annual healthcare cost of CA summed up to $US67.4 billion. Non-Hispanic whites and older adult patients had higher expenditures and use of healthcare resources (p < 0.05). Female patients had significantly higher prescribed medication expenditures and a lower proportion of inpatient and emergency room visits related to arrhythmia (p < 0.05). Patients taking anti-arrhythmic agents had significantly higher expenditure and a lower proportion of emergency department visits related to arrhythmia (p < 0.05).


CA represents a substantial economic burden in the US, especially for the older adult population. Patients other than non-Hispanic whites may not have adequate access to healthcare treatment for arrhythmia.

Supplementary material

40258_2013_70_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek H. Tang
    • 1
  • Adrienne M. Gilligan
    • 1
  • Klaus Romero
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Pharmacy-Pulido CenterUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Critical Path InstituteTucsonUSA

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