Background-Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with increased risk of hospitalization. Little is known about the impact of AF on utilization of noninpatient health care or about sex or race differences in AF-related utilization. We examined rates of inpatient and outpatient utilization by AF status in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Methods and Results-Participants with incident AF enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare for at least 12 continuous months between 1991 and 2009 (n=932) were matched on age, sex, race and field center with up to 3 participants without AF (n=2729). Healthcare utilization was ascertained from Medicare claims and classified by primary International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision code. The average annual numbers of days hospitalized were 13.2 (95% CI 11.6 to 15.0) and 2.8 (95% CI 2.5 to 3.1) for those with and without AF, respectively. The corresponding numbers of annual outpatient claims were 53.3 (95% CI 50.5 to 56.3) and 22.9 (95% CI 22.1 to 23.8) for those with and without AF, respectively. Most utilization among AF patients was attributable to non-AF conditions. The adjusted rate ratio for annual days hospitalized for other cardiovascular disease-related reasons was 4.58 (95% CI: 3.41 to 6.16) for those with AF versus those without AF. The association between AF and healthcare utilization was similar among men and women and among white and black participants. Conclusions-Participants with AF had considerably greater healthcare utilization, and the difference in utilization for other cardiovascular disease-related reasons was substantial. In addition to rate or rhythm treatment, AF management should focus on the accompanying cardiovascular comorbidities.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Health care
- Health disparities
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine