Successful AF ablation reduces health care costs
SAN FRANCISCO — Patients with atrial fibrillation who are event-free after catheter ablation had a 40% reduction in their health care costs, according to data presented at the Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions.
Using data from MarketScan, researchers assessed total health care expenditures in the first year after ablation for 9,949 patients with AF (mean age, 61 years; 71% men) who underwent initial ablation between April 2009 and March 2012. Researchers assessed use of antiarrhythmic drugs, repeat ablation, vascular access complications, pulmonary edema, pericarditis, perforation/tamponade and pulmonary vein stenosis.
According to the results, 50% of patients remained event-free after ablation, 39% received an antiarrhythmic drug prescription and 17% required repeat ablation. Five percent of the patients experienced vascular complications and 4% had pulmonary edema.
For those patients without any events after ablation, health care expenditures dropped from a mean of $24,781 in the year before ablation to $14,823 after ablation (P < .001).
The added costs per patient in the year after ablation included $4,332 for antiarrhythmic drugs, $29,028 for repeat ablations and $32,885 for pulmonary edema, Moussa Mansour, MD, FHRS, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the cardiac electrophysiology laboratory and the atrial fibrillation program at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues found.
“I hope this will focus people on techniques that will give the highest success rate in the first ablation procedure,” researcher Edward Karst, MS, principal research scientist at St. Jude Medical, told Cardiology Today.
“Ablation is an extremely challenging procedure, so getting it right the first time should be the goal,” Karst said. – by Tracey Romero
Mansour, M, et al. Session PO01. Presented at: Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions; May 4-7, 2016; San Francisco.
Disclosure: Karst reports being employed by St. Jude Medical.