Atrial fibrillation (AF) is 1 of the most important healthcare issues and an important cause of healthcare expenditure. AF care requires specific arrhythmologic skills and complex treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to know its real affect on healthcare systems to allocate resources and detect areas for improving the standards of care. The present nationwide, retrospective, observational study involved 233 general practitioners. Each general practitioner completed an electronic questionnaire to provide information on the clinical profile, treatment strategies, and resources consumed to care for their patients with AF. Of the 295,906 patients screened, representative of the Italian population, 6,036 (2.04%) had AF: 20.2% paroxysmal, 24.3% persistent, and 55.5% permanent AF. AF occurred in 0.16% of patients aged 16 to 50 years, 9.0% of those aged 76 to 85 years, and 10.7% of those aged ≥85 years. AF was symptomatic despite therapy in 74.6% of patients and was associated with heart disease in 75%. Among the patients with AF, 24.8% had heart failure, 26.8% renal failure, 18% stroke/transient ischemic attack, and 29.3% had ≥3 co-morbidities. The rate control treatment strategy was pursued in 55%. Of the 6,036 patients with AF, 46% received anticoagulants. The success rate of catheter ablation of the AF substrate was 50%. In conclusion, in our study, the frequency of AF was 2 times greater than previously reported (approximately 0.90%), rate control was the most pursued treatment strategy, anticoagulants were still underused, and the success rate of AF ablation was lower than reported by referral centers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine