Trends in outpatient anti-arrhythmic prescriptions for atrial fibrillation and left atrial ablation in Australia


Ifrah Khan, Hitesh C. Patel*, Shane Nanayakkara, Hariharan Raju, Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Justin A. Mariani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: An important aspect of atrial fibrillation (AF) management is the decision whether to adopt a rate or rhythm control strategy. Options for the latter include oral anti-arrhythmic drugs (AAD) or catheter ablation. Aim: To describe the trends in rhythm control for AF in Australia between 1997 and 2016. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study using prospectively collected data between 1997 and 2016 from the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme and Medicare Benefit Schedule websites, which, respectively, contain information pertaining to public AAD prescriptions and rebatable AF ablation procedures performed in Australia. Results: Sotalol and amiodarone remain the most commonly prescribed AAD in Australia, although their use is decreasing. Rates of catheter ablation for AF continue to rise annually with a 48-fold increase from 71 to 3480 since 1997. Conclusion: A rhythm control strategy is frequently utilised for AF management in Australia. Consistent with international guidelines which advocate safety over efficacy when choosing a rhythm control strategy, the prescriptions of amiodarone have been consistently decreasing since 2002, whereas sotalol and flecainide prescriptions have largely increased, with a peak in 2015. Catheter ablation per capita has burgeoned 36-fold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-432
Number of pages6
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • ablation
  • anti-arrhythmic drugs
  • atrial fibrillation
  • flecainide
  • rhythm control

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