May 4th, 2011
Study Estimates That Atrial Fibrillation Adds $26 Billion to Yearly U.S. Healthcare Costs
Atrial fibrillation may add $26 billion to the nation’s healthcare bill, according to a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Michael Kim and colleagues compared insurance claims for 1 year from 89,066 AF patients with claims from controls matched for gender, age, and other medical conditions and found that AF results in a net incremental cost per patient per year of $8,705.
Most of the additional costs came from more frequent hospitalizations in the AF group: AF patients were twice as likely as controls to be hospitalized (37.5% vs. 17.5%) and three times as likely to have multiple hospitalizations (11.1% vs. 3.3%). Some $6 billion was spent directly on costs related to AF; $9.9 billion for non-AF cardiovascular care; and $10.1 billion went for noncardiovascular health costs.
“We’re not going to impact healthcare costs or cardiovascular outcomes by just addressing atrial fibrillation itself,” said Michael Kim, the lead author of the study, in an AHA press release. “The large amount of cardiovascular disease among atrial fibrillation patients appears to worsen outcomes and increase costs. This is a sicker population.”
Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of the AF drug dronedarone (Multaq), provided financial and editorial support for the development of the manuscript of the paper.