Comparison of the cost of radiofrequency catheter modification of the atrioventricular node and medical therapy for drug-refractory atrioventricular node reentrant tachycardia

Steven J. Kalbfleisch, Hugh Calkins, Jonathan J. Langberg, Rafel El-Atassi, Angel Leon, Mark Borganelli, Fred Morady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the charges for radiofrequency catheter modification of the atrioventricular (AV) node in 15 patients with symptomatic AV node reentrant tachycardia despite pharmacologic therapy and to compare these charges with the estimated charges for health care utilization by the same patients before the catheter procedure was performed. There were seven men and eight women with a mean age of 50 ±17 years. The mean duration and frequency of symptoms were 16 ± 9 years and 4.5 ± 6 episodes/month, respectively. Fourteen of the 15 patients required only one procedure for diagnosis and cure of AV node reentrant tachycardia and 1 patient required two sessions. All patients underwent electrophysiologic study before discharge from the hospital to confirm the short-term efficacy of the procedure. The mean duration of the hospital stay was 3 ± 1.5 days and the mean total charge/patient expressed in 1991 dollars was $15,893 ± $3,338 for catheter modification. These total charges consisted of hospital charges of $8,105 ± $2,466 and physician charges of $7,788 ± $971. All patients had a successful outcome and required no additional antiarrhythmic therapy. The estimated cost of health care utilization for these 15 patients before cure of AV node reentrant tachycardia was $7,651/patient per year. These estimated costs included charges incurred for emergency room visits, office visits, hospitalizations and antiarrhythmic drug therapy. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that the annual health care costs incurred by patients who have symptomatic, drug-refractory paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia caused by AV node reentry are substantial. Radiofrequency catheter modification of the AV node not only is of clinical benefit, but also results in a dramatic long-term reduction in medical expenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1583-1587
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Volume19
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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