Utilisation and safety of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation in public and private sector hospitals

Linh Ngo, Anna Ali, Anand Ganesan, Richard J. Woodman, Robert Adams, Isuru Ranasinghe

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Little is known about the utilisation and safety of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) among public and private sector hospitals. Aims: To examine the uptake of AF ablations and compare procedural safety between the sectors. Method:: Hospitalisation data from all public and private hospitals in four large Australian states (NSW, QLD, VIC and WA) were used to identify patients undergoing AF ablation from 2012 to 17. The primary endpoint was any procedure-related complications up to 30-days post-discharge. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between treatment at a public hospital and risk of complications adjusting for covariates. Results: Private hospitals performed most of the 21,654 AF ablations identified (n = 16,992, 78.5 %), on patients who were older (63.5 vs. 59.9y) but had lower rates of heart failure (7.9 % vs. 10.4 %), diabetes (10.2 % vs. 14.1 %), and chronic kidney diseases (2.4 % vs. 5.2 %) (all p < 0.001) than those treated in public hospitals. When compared with private hospitals, public hospitals had a higher crude rate of complications (7.25 % vs. 4.70 %, p < 0.001). This difference remained significant after adjustment (OR 1.74 [95 % CI 1.54–2.04]) and it occurred with both in-hospital (OR 1.83 [1.57–2.14]) and post-discharge (OR 1.39 [1.06–1.83]) complications, with certain complications including acute kidney injury (OR 5.31 [3.02–9.36]), cardiac surgery (OR 5.18 [2.19–12.27]), and pericardial effusion (OR 2.18 [1.50–3.16]). Conclusions: Private hospitals performed most of AF ablations in Australia with a lower rate of complications when compared with public hospitals. Further investigations are needed to identify the precise mechanisms of this observed difference.

Original languageEnglish
Article number883
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2021


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Catheter ablation
  • Safety
  • Utilisation


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