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Keywords:

  • atrial fibrillation;
  • cost factors;
  • economics;
  • institutionalization;
  • resource use;
  • stroke

Background

New treatments for atrial fibrillation patients have been shown to be effective at reducing subsequent vascular event recurrence. However, there are few data on stroke costs in atrial fibrillation patients to allow the cost-effectiveness of these treatments to be assessed.

Aims

Using data from a population-based study, we assessed the acute and long-term costs of stroke in atrial fibrillation patients.

Methods

Health-care costs one-year before and five-years after stroke were obtained from a large population-based study (Oxford Vascular study). Costs were assessed for the three-months poststroke (acute period) and annually thereafter (postacute period). Annual postacute costs were compared with annual baseline costs. Based on patients' living arrangements, costs of institutionalization after the event were included.

Results

A total of 191 strokes occurred in 153 patients with known prior atrial fibrillation. Mean health-care costs after stroke were £10 413 (standard deviation 15 105) in the acute phase, with annual postacute health-care costs nonsignificantly smaller than those incurred before the event (£2400 vs. £3356, respectively; P = 0·198). However, for the 136 strokes surviving past the 90-day acute period, costs were nonsignificantly higher than those incurred in the year before the event (£3370 vs. £2566, respectively; P = 0·333). After stroke, 25 (13%) patients were newly admitted into long-term warden, nursing, or residential care, resulting in annual costs of £6880 (standard deviation 15 600) averaged across the 136 stroke cases surviving past the acute period.

Conclusions

Although annual post acute phase hospital and primary health-care costs in stroke patients with prior atrial fibrillation were not significantly different to those incurred before the stroke, long-term nursing/residential care costs were substantial.