Aims: Post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is associated with stroke and mortality. It is unknown if POAF is associated with subsequent heart failure (HF) hospitalization. This study aims to examine the association between POAF and incident HF hospitalization among patients undergoing cardiac and non-cardiac surgeries. Methods and results: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using all-payer administrative claims data that included all non-federal emergency department visits and acute care hospitalizations across 11 states in the USA. The study population included adults aged at least 18 years hospitalized for surgery without a prior diagnosis of HF. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the association between POAF and incident HF hospitalization after making adjustment for socio-demographics and comorbid conditions. Among 76 536 patients who underwent cardiac surgery, 14 365 (18.8%) developed incident POAF. In an adjusted Cox model, POAF was associated with incident HF hospitalization [hazard ratio (HR) 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25-1.41]. In a sensitivity analysis excluding HF within 1 year of surgery, POAF remained associated with incident HF hospitalization (HR 1.15; 95% CI 1.01-1.31). Among 2 929 854 patients who underwent non-cardiac surgery, 23 763 (0.8%) developed incident POAF. In an adjusted Cox model, POAF was again associated with incident HF hospitalization (HR 2.02; 95% CI 1.94-2.10), including in a sensitivity analysis excluding HF within 1 year of surgery (HR 1.49; 95% CI 1.38-1.61). Conclusions: Post-operative atrial fibrillation is associated with incident HF hospitalization among patients without prior history of HF undergoing both cardiac and non-cardiac surgeries. These findings reinforce the adverse prognostic impact of POAF and suggest that POAF may be a marker for identifying patients with subclinical HF and those at elevated risk for HF.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine