A systematic review protocol for examining 30-day readmission costs for atrial fibrillation patients

Taylor-Jade Woods, Peter Speck, Billingsley Kaambwa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia and readmissions of AF patients place a huge burden on the healthcare system, including economically. With an increasing prevalence, the burden of AF will continue evolving. To illuminate the readmission-specific economic burden, we aim to provide quality evidence on the cost of readmissions within 30 days where AF has been the primary diagnosis at the index admission. 

Methods and analysis: We will conduct a systematic review of all peer-reviewed articles examining readmission costs for AF patients. We will search MedLine, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Scopus and Cochrane Library for articles written in English, published in peer-reviewed journals from inception to 2019. Reporting of this protocol follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols checklist. Studies will be included if patients were aged 18 years and over, AF was the primary diagnosis of index admission and costs of readmission within 30 days were reported. Quality assessment of studies will be done using a modified Evers checklist. Study results will be summarised in a Forest plot and heterogeneity tested for using the Cochran's Q and I 2 statistic. A random-effects model will be applied for meta-analysis if studies are sufficiently homogeneous. The cost of readmission to hospital within 30 days for AF patients is the main outcome of interest while additional outcomes are 30-day readmission rate, predictors of readmission and predictors of readmission costs. 

Ethics and dissemination: Formal ethical approval is not required as no patients will be involved. Dissemination of results will be through a peer-reviewed publication.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere032101
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • atrial fibrillation
  • cost
  • readmission
  • systematic review protocol


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