Objective: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an important risk factor for stroke. It is prevalent in approximately one-fourth of stroke patients, and predictive of worse outcomes. This study aimed to analyze the effect of AF on stroke-related inpatient costs among first-ever stroke patients in Sweden.
Methods: Hospitalizations and death records were monitored for 3 years in 6611 first-ever stroke patients. For stroke as primary diagnosis, inpatient costs were calculated on the basis of length of stay at different wards. For stroke as secondary diagnosis, costs were based on diagnosis-related groups.
Results: Patients with AF (24% of all patients) were older (80 years vs. 73 years), had a higher prevalence of hypertension (49% vs. 41%) and/or diabetes (22% vs. 19%), higher risk of experiencing a restroke, and higher case fatality rate (43% vs. 25%) than patients without AF. The average cost per patient over 3 years was euro9004, with no statistically significant difference between AF and non-AF patients. However, a multiple regression analysis showed that the presence of AF resulted in higher costs after considering a number of background factors. Among patients surviving the index event, AF patients had on average euro818 higher inpatient costs over 3 years than non-AF patients (euro10,192 vs. euro9374, P < 0.01). The difference in costs was highest for patients aged <65 years, with a difference of euro4412 (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: AF-related strokes are associated with higher 3-year inpatient costs than non-AF strokes when controlling for factors such as case fatality rates, other risk factors for stroke, and age.
2008. Vol. 11, no 5, 862-868 p.