Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Management of Incident Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation | Atrial Fibrillation | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network
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    Original Investigation
    Cardiology
    February 26, 2021

    Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Management of Incident Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Cardiovascular Division, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    • 2Center for Cardiovascular Outcomes, Quality, and Evaluative Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    • 3Penn Cardiovascular Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    • 4Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    • 5Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    • 6Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • 7Division of General Internal Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(2):e210247. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0247
    Key Points

    Question  Are race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status associated with use of a rhythm control strategy (antiarrhythmic drugs and catheter ablation), and specifically catheter ablation, among patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) in the United States?

    Findings  In this cohort study of 109 221 patients with incident paroxysmal AF, Black race and lower zip code–linked median household income were associated with less use of a rhythm control strategy, and Latinx ethnicity and lower zip code–linked median household income were associated with less use of catheter ablation.

    Meaning  Results of this study suggest that racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequities may be present in management of paroxysmal AF in the United States.

    Abstract

    Importance  In patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF), rhythm control with either antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) or catheter ablation has been associated with decreased symptoms, prevention of adverse remodeling, and improved cardiovascular outcomes. Adoption of advanced cardiovascular therapeutics, however, is often slower among patients from racial/ethnic minority groups and those with lower income.

    Objective  To ascertain the cumulative rates of AAD and catheter ablation use for the management of paroxysmal AF and to investigate for the presence of inequities in AF management by evaluating the association of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status with their use in the United States.

    Design, Setting, and Participants  This cohort study obtained inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy claims data from the Optum Clinformatics Data Mart between October 1, 2015, and June 30, 2019. Adult patients (aged ≥18 years) in the database with a diagnosis of incident paroxysmal AF were identified. Patients were excluded if they did not have continuous insurance enrollment for at least 1 year before and at least 6 months after study entry.

    Exposures  Race/ethnicity and zip code–linked median household income.

    Main Outcomes and Measures  Treatment with a rhythm control strategy, and catheter ablation specifically, among those who received rhythm control. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the association of race/ethnicity and zip code–linked median household income with a rhythm control strategy (AADs or catheter ablation) vs a rate control strategy as well as with catheter ablation vs AADs among those receiving rhythm control.

    Results  Of the 109 221 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 55 185 were men (50.5%) and 73 523 were White (67.3%), with a median (interquartile range) age of 75 (68-82) years. A total of 86 359 patients (79.1%) were treated with rate control, 19 362 patients (17.7%) with AADs, and 3500 (3.2%) with catheter ablation. Between 2016 and 2019, the cumulative percentage of patients treated with catheter ablation increased from 1.6% to 3.8%. In multivariable analyses, Black race (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.89; 95% CI, 0.83-0.94; P < .001) and lower zip code–linked median household income (aOR for <$50 000: 0.83 [95% CI, 0.79-0.87; P < .001]; aOR for $50 000-$99 999: 0.92 [95% CI, 0.88-0.96; P = <.001] compared with ≥$100 000) were independently associated with lower use of rhythm control. Latinx ethnicity (aOR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.60-0.89; P = .002) and lower zip code–linked median household income (aOR for <$50 000: 0.61 [95% CI, 0.54-0.69; P < .001]; aOR for $50 000-$99 999: 0.81 [95% CI, 0.72-0.90; P < .001] compared with ≥$100 000) were independently associated with lower catheter ablation use among those receiving rhythm control.

    Conclusions and Relevance  This study found that despite increased use of rhythm control strategies for treatment of paroxysmal AF, catheter ablation use remained low and patients from racial/ethnic minority groups and those with lower income were less likely to receive rhythm control treatment, especially catheter ablation. These findings highlight inequities in paroxysmal AF management based on race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

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