HRS.16: Healthcare expenditures vary following ablation

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An analysis of nearly 10,000 patients with atrial fibrillation who underwent ablation found that healthcare expenditures decreased 40 percent in a year among patients who experienced no clinical events following the ablation.

Meanwhile, patients who received a prescription for an antiarrhythmic drug, had another ablation or had pulmonary edema had an increase in costs.

Results were  presented during a poster session at the Heart Rhythm Society’s scientific sessions in San Francisco on May 4. Moussa Mansour, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, was the study’s lead author.

The researchers evaluated 9,949 patients from the MarketScan database. They included patients with atrial fibrillation who had their first atrial catheter ablation from April 2009 to March 2012 and had one year of health insurance coverage in the year before and after the ablation. The mean age of patients was 61 years old, and 71 percent of patients were male.

Of the patients, 50 percent had no events in the year after ablation, 39 percent received an antiarrhythmic drug prescription, 17 percent had repeat ablation, 5 percent had vascular complications and 4 percent had pulmonary edema.

Of the patients with no events, the mean healthcare costs decreased from $24,781 in the year before ablation to $14,823 in the year after ablation. The incremental costs in the year after ablation were $4,332 for patients who received an antiarrhythmic drug prescription, $29,028 for patients with a repeat ablation and $32,885 for patients with a pulmonary edema.

“Tools and techniques aimed at reducing events after ablation would further improve the procedure’s cost-effectiveness,” the researchers wrote.