Atrial fibrillation is a condition where the heartbeat is irregular, and the heart's upper chambers beat out of sync with the lower chambers. It can cause symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. A clinical trial called CABANA (Catheter Ablation vs Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation) has looked at two different treatments for atrial fibrillation and how they affect patients' health and healthcare costs.
The two treatments being compared in this study are catheter ablation and drug therapy. Catheter ablation is a medical procedure where a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into the heart through a vein in the groin. The catheter uses radiofrequency energy to destroy small areas of heart tissue that are causing irregular heartbeat. Drug therapy involves taking medication to control the heart rate and rhythm.
The CABANA trial involved 2,204 patients with atrial fibrillation. The study collected data on the medical resources used by each patient, including hospital stays, doctor visits, and medications. The researchers also looked at the costs of these resources using information from bills and medical codes.
The results of the study showed that in the first three months, catheter ablation cost about $20,794 more than drug therapy. Over the course of the five-year study, the cost difference was about $19,245. However, the study found that catheter ablation improved patients' quality of life and reduced the chances of atrial fibrillation coming back.
The study also looked at how long patients lived and how good their quality of life was. The researchers used a measure called quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) to compare the two treatments. A QALY is a measure of how many years of life a person can expect to have, adjusted for how good their quality of life is during those years.