Cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIED) have become an indispensable part in everyday clinical practice in cardiology. The indications for CIED implantation are based on the guidelines of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA). Nevertheless, numbers of CIED implantations in Europe are subject to considerable differences. We hypothesized that reimbursements linked to the respective health systems may influence implantation behavior.
Based on the EHRA White Book 2017, CIED implantation data as well as socioeconomic key figures were collected, in particular gross domestic product (GDP) and share of gross domestic product spent on healthcare.
Implantation numbers for pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization treatment as well as all in total were assessed, compared with the health care expenditures and visualized using heat maps.
Total implantation numbers per 100,000 inhabitants varied from 196.53 (Germany) to 2.81 (Kosovo). Higher implantation numbers correlated moderately with a higher GDP (r = 0.456, p 0.002) and higher health expenditure (r = 0.586, p < 0.001). The annual financial resources per inhabitant were also subject to fluctuations ranging from 9476 $ (Switzerland) to 140 $ (Ukraine); however, there were countries with high financial means, such as Switzerland or Scandinavian countries, which showed significantly lower implantation rates.
There were considerable differences in CIED implantations in Europe. These seem to be explained in part by socioeconomic disparities within Europe. Also, a potential influence by the respective remuneration system is likely.