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Urban-rural differences in mortality for atrial fibrillation hospitalizations in the United States

Published:December 10, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.10.019

      Background

      Cardiovascular outcomes vary between urban and rural hospitals, with worse outcomes in rural settings.

      Objective

      The purpose of this study was to examine whether in-hospital mortality for hospitalization for atrial fibrillation (AF) varied between urban and rural hospitals.

      Methods

      A cross-sectional examination of patients who were hospitalized for AF was performed in the National Inpatient Sample between 2012 and 2014 to compare in-hospital mortality in patients admitted to urban vs rural hospitals. Patients with a principal International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision discharge diagnosis of AF were included. Hospitals were classified as urban or rural on the basis of core-based statistical areas. In-hospital mortality was defined as death due to any cause during hospitalization.

      Results

      A total of 248,731 (mean age 69 years; 78% white; 48% women) admissions for AF were identified. Of these, 218,946 (88%) were from urban hospitals and 29,785 (12%) were from rural hospitals. Patients admitted to rural hospitals had a 17% increased risk of death as compared with those admitted to urban hospitals in a multivariable model, which accounted for differences in patient characteristics and potential confounders (odds ratio 1.17; 95% confidence interval 1.04–1.32). Similar results were obtained in a propensity score–matched analysis and in subgroup analyses by sex, race, and region.

      Conclusion

      In-hospital mortality of AF is higher in rural hospitals than in urban hospitals. Further research is needed to understand this finding and to develop targeted strategies to reduce mortality in patients admitted for AF in rural hospitals.

      Keywords

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