Cost of illness of atrial fibrillation: a nationwide study of societal impact.
Background: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation is increasing rapidly; however, to date, population-based data are lacking on the attributable cost of illness of atrial fibrillation from a societal perspective, including both direct and indirect costs.
Methods: The study was an incidence-based cost-of-illness study based on national registries covering the entire population of Denmark. We identified all patients with a first-time hospital diagnosis of atrial fibrillation between 2001 and 2012. For every atrial fibrillation patient, we identified three age- and sex-matched controls from the general population. Both the total and the attributable costs of atrial fibrillation were estimated based on individual level information on hospital care (in- and out-patient contacts), primary sector care, use of prescription drugs and productivity loss.
Results: Average 3-year societal costs per patient attributable to atrial fibrillation were estimated to be €20,403–26,544 during the study period. The costs were highest during the first year after diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. Admission costs constituted the largest cost component, whereas primary sector costs and medicine costs only constituted minor components. The attributable costs were more than two-fold higher among patients experiencing a stroke. The total 3-year cost attributable to atrial fibrillation in Denmark was estimated to be €219–295 million.
Conclusions: The societal costs attributable to atrial fibrillation are significant. Reducing the need for hospitalizations, in particular from stroke, is a key factor in controlling the costs.