Abstract 18823: Increasing Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation: Nationwide Hospitalization Trends in Australia Over 15 Years
Background: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is believed to be increasing in developed countries. Despite the substantial public health burden, there has been little epidemiological data on the prevalence of AF in recent years or from countries other than the US. We thus sought to estimate the prevalence of AF in Australia by characterising hospitalization trends from 1993-2007.
Methods: We identified all hospitalizations for AF in Australia (population 22 million) as a principal diagnosis by ICD coding from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This dataset includes hospitalizations from all public and private hospitals in Australia. Population data was obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Results: A total of 473,498 (54.8% M) patients were hospitalized for a principal diagnosis of AF. AF hospitalizations increased from 15,555 to 47,164, or by an average of 8.3% per annum. The number of all hospitalizations only increased by 4.3% per annum, however, and thus AF as a percentage of all hospitalizations increased from 0.34 to 0.60%. Overall, the proportion of individuals hospitalized with AF and aged >75 years rose from 21 to 27% in men and from 22 to 51% in women. The average length of stay fell for men from 4.0 to 2.9 days and from 4.3 to 3.3 days in women. Despite this decrease in length of stay, the increase in AF hospitalisations resulted in a 130 and 119% increase in the total number of hospitalization days for AF respectively for both sexes.
Conclusions: Hospitalizations and population rates for AF has increased significant in Australia from 1993-2008. Though the number of hospitalizations for AF has increased particularly in the older age groups, our data suggests that the increase in AF prevalence is not entirely explained by the ageing of the population. This enormous public health burden has important implications for health care planning and primary prevention strategies against the development of AF.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.