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Original research article
Increasing trends in hospitalisations due to atrial fibrillation in Australia from 1993 to 2013

Abstract

Objective The aim of this study is to characterise hospitalisations due to atrial fibrillation (AF) compared with two other common cardiovascular conditions, myocardial infarction (MI) and heart failure (HF), in addition to the associated economic burden of these hospitalisations and contribution of AF-related procedures.

Methods The primary outcome measure was the rate of increase of AF, MI and HF hospitalisations from 1993 to 2013. The rate of increase of AF-related procedures including cardioversion and ablation were also collected, in addition to direct costs associated with hospitalisations for each of these three conditions.

Results AF hospitalisations increased 295% over the 21-year period to a total of 61 424 in 2013. In comparison, MI and HF hospitalisations increased by only 73% and 39%, respectively, over the same period. Considering population changes, there was an annual increase in AF hospitalisations of 5.2% (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.052; 95% CI 1.046 to 1.059; p<0.001). In contrast, there was a 2.2% increase per annum for MI (IRR 1.022; 95% CI 1.017 to 1.027; p<0.001) and negligible annual change for HF hospitalisations (IRR 1.000; 95% CI 0.997 to 1.002; p=0.78). Cardioversion and AF ablation increased by 10% and 26% annually, respectively. AF hospitalisation costs rose by 479% over the 21-year period, an increase that was more than double that of MI and HF.

Conclusions The burden of AF hospitalisations continues to rise unabated. AF has now surpassed both MI and HF hospitalisations and represents a growing cost burden. New models of healthcare delivery are required to stem this growing healthcare burden.

  • atrial fibrillation
  • hospitalisations
  • healthcare burden
  • ablation
  • cardioversion
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