Real-world characteristics and readmissions among patients undergoing ablation for ventricular tachycardia: a retrospective database analysis of commercially insured patients in the USA


Cardiac Electrophysiology, Aurora BayCare Medical Center


BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency catheter ablation is an effective treatment to alleviate symptoms and reduce recurrent implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD/CRT-D) shocks in patients with ventricular tachycardia (VT).

OBJECTIVE: To assess the characteristics and outcomes (complications, inpatient readmissions) of commercially insured patients in the USA undergoing ablation for ischaemic or non-ischaemic VT.

METHODS: Patients aged 18-64 years with a primary diagnosis of VT who underwent ablation between 2006 and 2015 were identified using the IBM MarketScan Commercial Database. The rate of complications including vascular complications, pericarditis, pulmonary embolism and pericardial tamponade over a 30-day post-ablation period (including index admission) was examined. Inpatient readmissions (VT-related, heart failure (HF)-related and non-VT arrhythmia-related) over the 12-month post-ablation period were examined. A Cox regression model was used to determine factors associated with inpatient readmissions.

RESULTS: 5242 patients (488 with ischaemic and 4754 with non-ischaemic VT) met the study criteria. The majority of VT ablations occurred in an outpatient setting (57% for ischaemic and 66% for non-ischaemic VT). Among complications, vascular complications were most frequent (2.05% among ischaemic and 1.6% among non-ischaemic VT patients) over the 30-day post-ablation period. Among ischaemic VT patients, 17%, 7.6% and 4.7% had VT-related, HF-related and non-VT arrhythmia-related inpatient readmissions, respectively in the 12-month post-ablation period. For non-ischaemic VT patients, these numbers were 7.5%, 1.7% and 3.1%, respectively. Inpatient setting (vs outpatient), baseline ICD/CRT-D implantation, HF comorbidity and ≥2 prior hospitalisations were associated with a higher risk of post-ablation VT-related inpatient readmissions among ischaemic VT patients. Similar factors also were associated with a higher risk of post-ablation VT-related inpatient readmission among non-ischaemic VT patients.

CONCLUSION: Setting of ablation and comorbidity status were found to influence readmission rates. Complication and readmission rates following VT ablation were low indicating towards the favourable safety profile of VT ablation.

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