Transient post-operative atrial fibrillation predicts short and long term adverse events following CABG

Femi Philip, Matthew Becker, John Galla, Eugene Blackstone, Samir R. Kapadia


Objective: To assess the relationship between the development of transient post-operative atrial fibrillation (TPOAF) following coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) and risk of long-term mortality.
Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) following CABG is common and associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the perioperative period. However the impact of TPOAF and its management on long-term morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing first time, isolated CABG surgery remains unclear.
Methods: The Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Information Registry was used to identify 5,205 consecutive patients who underwent CABG between January 1993 and December 2005. Patients with TPOAF (n=1,490) were compared to those without post-operative AF (n=3,645) for the endpoints of death, myocardial infarction (MI), or stroke at 1 year.
Results: Overall rates of 1 year mortality, MI and stroke were 3.7%, 0.8%, and 2.6%, respectively. Patients with TPOAF had an increased risk of death at 1 year as compared to patients without POAF (6.4% vs. 2.7%; P<0.001), but there was not an increased risk of stroke or MI. Multivariate analysis identified TPOAF as an independent predictor of death at 1 year (HR 1.89, 95% CI, 1.42-2.53; P<0.001). After propensity matching, patients who developed TPOAF experienced a significantly increased risk of death compared with those without TPOAF (HR 1.96, 95% CI, 1.34-2.86; P<0.001).
Conclusions: In patients undergoing first time, isolated CABG, the presence of TPOAF identifies a subgroup of patients at increased risk for all-cause mortality. Future prospective studies to determine potential beneficial interventions in this large population are warranted.