BackgroundAtrial fibrillation (AF) is an increasingly prevalent public health problem and one of the most common causes of emergency department (ED) visits. We aimed to investigate the trends in ED visits and hospital admissions for AF.
Methods and resultsThis is a repeated cross-sectional analysis of ED visit-level data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample for 2007 to 2014. We identified adults who visited EDs in the United States, with a principal diagnosis of AF. A sample of 864 759 ED visits for AF, representing a weighted total of 3 886 520 ED visits, were analyzed. The annual ED visits for AF increased by 30.7% from 411 406 in 2007 (95% confidence interval, 389 819-432 993) to 537 801 (95% confidence interval, 506 747-568 855) in 2014. Patient demographics remained consistent, with an average age of 69 to 70 years and slight female predominance (51%-53%) throughout the study period. Hospital admission rates were stable at ?70% between 2007 and 2010, after which they gradually declined to 62% in 2014 (Ptrend=0.017). Despite the decline in hospital admission rates, AF hospitalizations increased from 288 225 in 2007 to 333 570 in 2014 because of the increase in total annual ED visits during the study. The adjusted annual charges for admitted AF patients increased by 37% from $7.39 billion in 2007 to $10.1 billion in 2014.
ConclusionsAnnual ED visits and hospital admissions for AF increased significantly between 2007 and 2014, despite a reduction in admission rates. These data emphasize the need for widespread implementation of effective strategies aimed at improving the management of patients with AF to reduce hospital admissions and the economic burden of AF.