Does the Use of Intracardiac Echocardiography During Atrial Fibrillation Catheter Ablation Improve Outcomes and Cost? A Nationwide 14-year Analysis from 2001 to 2014


Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) use during catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) provides real-time information to guide transseptal access, for monitoring the ablation and recognition of pericardial bleed. We describe trends of ICE use, impact on complications, and its in-hospital outcomes.


The national in-patient sample database was queried from 2001 to 2014 for diagnosis of AF based on ICD-9-CM 427.31 with a catheter ablation procedure code (37.34) in the same hospitalization and its associated complications. ICE was identified using ICD-9-CM procedure code (37.28). Statistical Analysis System (SAS) was used for analysis.


There was an estimated total 299,152 patients who underwent AF ablation from 2001 to 2014 of which ICE was used in 46,688 (15.6%) patients. The use of ICE significantly increased from 0.08% in 2001 to 15.7% in 2014. In-hospital mortality was significantly lower in patients in whom ICE was used (0.11% vs 0.54%, p < 0.0001). Complications were 52% lower in procedures using ICE vs without ICE (HR [95%CI]; 0.48 [0.44-0.51]). The rate of cardiac complications was also lower in ICE users (3.67% vs 4.51%; p = 0.025). The use of ICE during AF ablation resulted in significantly higher cost of hospitalization ($98,436 ± 597 vs $81,300 ± 310; p < 0.0001), but this was offset by a decreased length of hospital stay (2.1 ± 0.02 vs 4 ± 0.02 days; p < 0.0001).


The use of ICE during AF ablation has increased over the years and is associated with lower in-hospital mortality and procedural complications, shorter LOS but an increased cost of hospitalization.