Trends in hospital treatment of ventricular arrhythmias among Medicare beneficiaries, 1985 to 1995

Kathryn M. McDonald, Mark A. Hlatky, Olga Saynina, Jeffrey Geppert, Alan M. Garber, Mark B. McClellan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background. Treatment options for patients with ventricular arrhythmias have undergone major changes in the last 2 decades. Trends in use of invasive procedures, clinical outcomes, and expenditures have not been well documented. Methods. We used administrative databases of Medicare beneficiaries from 1985 to 1995 to identify patients hospitalized with ventricular arrhythmias. We created a longitudinal patient profile by linking the index admission with all earlier and subsequent admissions and with death records. Results. Approximately 85,000 patients aged ≥65 years went to hospitals in the United States with ventricular arrhythmias each year, and about 20,000 lived to admission. From 1987 to 1995, the use of electrophysiology studies and implantable cardioverter defibrillators in patients who were hospitalized grew substantially, from 3% to 22% and from 1% to 13%, respectively. Hospital expenditures rose 8% per year, primarily because of the increased use of invasive procedures. Survival improved, particularly in the medium term, with 1-year survival rates increasing between 1987 and 1994 from 52.9% to 58.3%, or half a percentage point each year. Conclusion. Survival of patients who sustain a ventricular arrhythmia is poor, but improving. For patients who are admitted, more intensive treatment has been accompanied by increased hospital expenditures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican heart journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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