Rapid Access Arrhythmia Clinics (RAACs) versus usual care: improving efficiency and safety of arrhythmia management

Harry Klimis, Amy Von Huben, Samual Turnbull, Joanne Han, Henry Chen, Chrishan J. Nalliah, Aravinda Thiagalingam, Clara K. Chow, Saurabh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Rapid access cardiology services have been proposed for assessment of acute cardiac conditions via an outpatient model-of-care that potentially could reduce hospitalisations. We describe a new Rapid Access Arrhythmia Clinic (RAAC) and compare major safety endpoints to usual care.

Methods: We matched 312 adult patients with suspected arrhythmia in RAAC to historical age and sex-matched controls discharged from hospital within Western Sydney Local Health District with suspected arrhythmia. The primary endpoint was a composite of time to first unplanned cardiovascular hospitalisation or cardiac death over 12 months.

Results: The average age of RAAC patients was 52.2±18.8 years and 51.6±18.8 years for controls, and 48.4% were female in both groups. Mean time from referral to first attended RAAC appointment was 10.5 days. Most were referred from emergency (177, 56.7%) and cardiologists at time of discharge (65, 20.8%). The most common reason for referral was palpitations (180, 57.7%). In total, 155 (49.7%) had a documented arrhythmia, with the most common being atrial fibrillation/flutter (88, 28.2%). The primary endpoint occurred in 35 (11.2%) patients in the RAAC pathway (97.1[95% CI 70-131.3] per 1,000 person-years), compared to 72 (23.1%) patients for usual care controls (229.5[95% CI 180.2-288.1] per 1,000 person-years). Using a propensity score analysis, RAAC pathway significantly reduced the primary endpoint by 59% compared to usual care (HR 0.41, 95% CI 0.27-0.62; p<0.001).

Conclusions: RAACs for the early investigation and management of suspected arrhythmia is superior to usual care in terms of reduction in unplanned cardiovascular hospitalisation and death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-673
Number of pages9
JournalHeart, Lung and Circulation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Rapid access
  • Cardiology clinic
  • Arrhythmia clinic


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