Atrial fibrillation ablation: A cost or an investment?

Josef Kautzner, Veronika Bulkova, Gerhard Hindricks, Nikos Maniadakis, Paolo Della Bella, Pierre Jaïs, Karl Heinz Kuck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last decade, catheter ablation (CA) became a viable therapeutic approach for symptomatic patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) non-responsive to antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD). The economic analysis of CA is complex due to the presence of several confounding factors, such as the pattern of AF (paroxysmal AF, persistent or long-term persistent AF), the patient population (age, presence/absence of underlying structural heart disease, comorbidities, etc.), the different techniques for ablation (with impact on complexity and cost of the procedure, as well as on efficacy and safety), and the learning curve and experience of an individual centre (with impact on efficacy and cost effectiveness). At present, CA appears to be cost effective mainly in patients with paroxysmal AF who are refractory to AADs, especially if the success of the procedure and, thus, the benefit in quality of life remains >5 years, with a low complication rate. More data are needed on cost effectiveness of CA of persistent and long-term persistent AF or of AF associated with heart failure. Atrial fibrillation ablation is unlikely to be cost effective for patients who have preserved quality of life despite their AF or for patients whose quality of life is not expected to improve substantially despite elimination of AF (e.g. patients with poor quality of life mainly due to other health problems). These observations may help in the selection of candidates for AF ablation.

Original languageEnglish
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Ablation
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cost
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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