The objective of our study was to evaluate the impact of atrial fibrillation (AF) on secondary care costs in Scotland. Patient hospitalisation data from the Information and Statistics Division (ISD) of the Scottish National Health Service (NHS) from 2004 to 2008 were analysed to estimate trends in hospital episodes in the 5.2 million population of Scotland. The associated costs were estimated using the tariff prices in Scotland for the respective years. Over the five-year period, AF-related hospital discharges increased by 33% compared with 20% for all cardiovascular discharges (29 and 37 per 1,000 population respectively). There were increases of: 21% in number of patients hospitalised; 27% in AF-related hospital admissions; and 15% in total patient bed days. Despite decreasing trends, mean length of inpatient stay for AF remained higher than for total cardiovascular conditions (10.9 vs. 8.7 days), as did inpatient cost per patient (£6,009 vs. £5,586). AF-related hospital costs increased from £138.9 million in 2004 to £162.5 million in 2008, accounting for 24% of all cardiovascular hospital costs. Overall, the burden of AF was higher among women and increased progressively with age. In conclusion, AF presents a significant and increasing burden on hospital care in Scotland. At 25% of the total cardiovascular burden, AF costs are increasing relatively faster.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Economic burden