Purpose: The aim of the study is to describe the nationwide epidemiological data for hospitalized patients with atrial fibrillation in Taiwan. Methods: We collected information on hospitalized patients with discharge-diagnosed atrial fibrillation from 1997 through 2002 from the Taiwan National Health Insurance database. Patients were examined for temporal trends in the frequency of the disease, clinical characteristics, and in-hospital mortality. Results: Of 162,340 patients (mean age, 73.8 years), 55.3% were men and 38.6% had a primary diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. The mean annual frequency of diagnosed atrial fibrillation was 127 per 100,000 persons. The frequency of atrial fibrillation rose from 91 (1997) to 150 (2002) per 100,000 persons (P <.001); it significantly increased directly with age from 4 per 100,000 in patients <50 years to 1571 per 100,000 in patients ≥80 years. The frequency was significantly higher in men than in women (137 vs 116 per 100,000; P <.001). The average in-hospital mortality rate was 9.3%. In-hospital mortality rate showed a decreasing trend (9.9% vs 7.6%; P = .003). Comorbidities of ischemic heart disease, valvular heart disease, hypertension, ischemic stroke, and congestive heart failure were predictors of higher mortality. Conclusions: This Taiwanese study showed a 1.65-fold increase in the frequency of diagnosed atrial fibrillation during the study period. The in-hospital mortality rate, however, declined. The frequency of atrial fibrillation was higher in men and the elderly. We should be more concerned about negative outcomes in hospitalized patients with atrial fibrillation and other coexisting cardiovascular conditions.
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