The economics of atrial fibrillation: a time for review and prioritization


  • Dominique A. Cadilhac

    Corresponding author
    1. National Stroke Research Institute of Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
    2. The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    • Stroke and Ageing Research Centre, Department of Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Correspondence: Dominique A. Cadilhac, Stroke and Ageing Research Centre, Department of Medicine, Monash Medical Centre, Southern Clinical School, Monash University, Monash Health Research Precinct (MHRP) Building, Level 1, 43-51 Kanooka Grove, Clayton, Vic. 3168, Australia.



Stroke associated with atrial fibrillation may occur in up to one third of people who experience an ischemic event, and results in greater stroke severity and poorer health outcomes. The ageing population in developed and developing countries will lead to an increase in the prevalence of atrial fibrillation in society. Detecting people who have atrial fibrillation and ensuring optimal prevention management is essential for reducing the burden of stroke worldwide. There is evidence that use of anticoagulants is inadequate in primary and secondary prevention of stroke. New anticoagulants that have fewer side effects and population screening tools are available. However, there is little information available about the cost-effectiveness of these new options for atrial fibrillation detection and stroke prevention management over current practice. Since resources for spending in health are limited, it is essential that formal economic analyses are undertaken to ensure there are informed and evidence-based decisions on where to best invest stroke prevention resources. It is essential that renewed efforts in the area of atrial fibrillation and options for stroke prevention are undertaken within the public health research community.