Sorting by


Atrial fibrillation (AF) and its close cousin atrial flutter are significant causes of hospitalisation, accounting for a substantial portion of AF-related healthcare expenditures. While the immediate outcomes following hospitalisation for these cardiac arrhythmias are well understood, the long-term impacts remain less clear. A new study from researchers at the University of Queensland aimed to shed light on the survival rates, loss of life expectancy, and frequency of hospital re-admissions in patients up to ten years after their initial hospitalisation for AF or flutter.

The study encompassed all public and most private hospitals in Australia and New Zealand, reviewing records from 2008 to 2017. It included more than 260,000 adults hospitalised with a primary diagnosis of AF or flutter, covering more than a million person-years. Researchers modelled survival and life expectancy loss.

During the study period, about 69,000 patients died. The survival probability was 91.2 per cent at one year, dropping to 55.2 per cent by the tenth year. The study calculated an average loss of 2.6 years in life expectancy or 16.8 per cent of expected life duration for these patients compared to the general population. Notably, re-hospitalisations were frequent, with 41.2 per cent of patients readmitted for AF or flutter within ten years. The study also highlighted a low uptake of catheter ablation, a recommended treatment for reducing AF burden, which was performed in only 6.5 per cent of patients over the decade following their initial hospitalisation.

The findings indicate a significant long-term impact on patients hospitalised for AF or flutter, with a marked reduction in life expectancy and high rates of returning to hospital. These outcomes show the need for improved management strategies both in hospital and post-discharge settings to mitigate the long-term effects of these conditions. Catheter ablation being underused points to a potential area for clinical practice improvement. This study not only aids in patient counseling regarding prognosis but also highlights crucial areas for healthcare policy and practice enhancements to better manage the long-term outcomes of AF and flutter.


Further information

Long-term outcomes after hospitalization for atrial fibrillation or flutter: European Heart Journal 

Atrial fibrillation:

Contact Us