As new AF ablation technologies, such as Medtronic's Arctic Front cryo balloon, are reaching the market and peaking physician interest, hospital administrators are more closely examining the finances associated with these procedures. With AF ablation predicted to grow in the coming years and more hospitals entering this market, maintaining profitable procedures will become increasingly important.
Roughly 2.2 million patients suffer from atrial fibrillation in the U.S. While there is not conclusive data available on how many of these patients are referred to an EP, it is estimated that at least 10% do not have underlying heart disease despite an episode of AF, making them unlikely candidates for an electrophysiologist consult. Despite the growing number of AF ablations being conducted in the U.S—driven by improved technology and outcomes as well as growing physician experience—these procedures are not appropriate for every patient with AF. Ablations are largely reserved for those with symptomatic AF (roughly 2/3 of patients) who have not been able to tolerate or see improvements from at least one antiarrhythmic drug. These two-thirds may either receive surgical or catheter ablation.
Read more »