New-onset atrial fibrillation (NOAF) is commonly encountered in critically ill adults. Evidence evaluating the association between NOAF and patient-important outcomes in this population is conflicting. Furthermore, little is known regarding the association between NOAF and resource use or hospital costs.
Retrospective analysis (2011–2016) of a prospectively collected registry from two Canadian hospitals of consecutive ICU patients aged ≥ 18 years. We excluded patients with a known history of AF prior to hospital admission. Any occurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) was prospectively recorded by bedside nurses. The primary outcome was hospital mortality, and we used multivariable logistic regression to adjust for confounders. We used a generalized linear model to evaluate contributors to total cost.
We included 15,014 patients, and 1541 (10.3%) had NOAF during their ICU admission. While NOAF was not associated with increased odds of hospital death among the entire cohort (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.02 [95% confidence interval [CI] 0.97–1.08]), an interaction was noted between NOAF and sepsis, and the presence of both was associated with higher odds of hospital mortality (aOR 1.28 [95% CI 1.09–1.36]) than either alone. Patients with NOAF had higher total costs (cost ratio [CR] 1.09 [95% CI 1.02–1.20]). Among patients with NOAF, treatment with a rhythm-control strategy was associated with higher costs (CR 1.24 [95% CI 1.07–1.40]).
While NOAF was not associated with death or requiring discharge to long-term care among critically ill patients, it was associated with increased length of stay in ICU and increased total costs.