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Value Health. 2007 Mar-Apr;10(2):137-43.

The impact of atrial fibrillation on the cost of stroke: the berlin acute stroke study.

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Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an important risk factor for stroke. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the resource use for patients admitted to hospital with acute stroke and to calculate stroke-related direct costs, stratifying the results according to the presence of AF as a risk factor.


Data from 558 consecutive patients hospitalized with confirmed acute stroke between August 2000 and July 2001 were analyzed as part of the Berlin Acute Stroke Study. Sociodemographic variables were assessed by direct interview, while hospital data were derived from patient medical records. Patients or their carers completed a follow-up questionnaire about resource utilization and absenteeism from work during the 12-month period after hospital admission.


Out of the 367 patients with follow-up data and ECG findings, 71 (19%) had AF. Patients with AF were generally older, more likely to be female, and had more severe strokes compared with those without AF. Mean direct costs per patient were significantly higher in those with AF-related strokes (EURO 11,799 vs EURO 8817 for non-AF-related strokes; P < 0.001). After adjustment for confounding factors, direct costs were comparable in the two groups, except for acute hospitalization costs, which remained significantly higher in the group with AF (P < 0.05).


Medical care for stroke patients with AF is associated with higher costs compared with those without AF; this is explained mainly by confounding factors and driven essentially by a significant difference in acute hospitalization costs.

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