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Left atrial appendage closure with the watchman device reduces atrial fibrillation management costs



To report hospitalization costs of patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) submitted to percutaneous left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) with the Watchman device.


Pre- and post-procedural hospitalization AF-related costs were calculated using the DRG system (diagnosis-related groups) and compared.


Between 2012 and 2016, 677 non-valvular AF patients underwent LAAC. Median time from first cardiac hospitalization to LAAC was 5.9 years (IQR 1.6–9.1) and median follow-up after LAAC was 4.8 years (IQR 3.6–5.6). LAAC mortality was 1.3% and follow-up mortality 16.9%. Median pre-LAAC hospitalization cost was € 17,867 (IQR € 7512–35,08) and post-LAAC € 8772 (IQR € 1183–25,159) (p < 0.0001). Annualized cost pre-LAAC was 3773 € (IQR € 1644–8,493) and post-LAAC 2,001 € (IQR € 260–6913) (p < 0.0001). Follow-up survivors had significantly lower post-LAAC costs (p < 0.0001) and after a survival cut-off time of 4.6 years LAAC procedural and post-procedural hospitalization costs achieved parity with pre-LACC costs (AUC 0.64; p = 0.02). CHA2DS2-VASc score (B = 0.04; p = 0.02; 95% CI 0.006–0.08), and HAS-BLED score (B = 0.08; p = 0.004; 95% CI 0.02–0.14) were independent determinants for annualized hospitalization costs post-LAAC. At Cox-regression analysis the DRG mean clinical complexity level (CCL) was the only independent determinant for follow-up mortality (OR = 2.2; p < 0.0001; 95% CI 1.6–2.8) with a cut-off value of 2.25 to predict follow-up mortality (AUC 0.72; p < 0.0001; Spec. 70%; Sens. 70%).


Hospitalization costs pre-LAAC are consistent, and after LAAC, they are significantly reduced. Costs seem related to the patient's risk profile at the time of the procedure. With the increase in post-LAAC survival time, the procedure becomes economically more profitable.

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Correspondence to Giuseppe D´Ancona.

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D´Ancona, G., Safak, E., Weber, D. et al. Left atrial appendage closure with the watchman device reduces atrial fibrillation management costs. Clin Res Cardiol (2021).

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  • Atrial
  • Fibrillation
  • Percutaneous
  • Occlusion
  • Appendage
  • Costs
  • DRG
  • Risk
  • Factors