Device-Detected Atrial Fibrillation Before and After Hospitalisation for Noncardiac Surgery or Medical Illness: Insights From ASSERT
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BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is often detected during hospitalisation for surgery or medical illness and is often assumed to be due to the acute condition. METHODS: The Asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Evaluation in Pacemaker Patients and the Atrial Fibrillation Reduction Atrial Pacing Trial (ASSERT) study enrolled patients ≥ 65 years old without AF. Pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators recorded device-detected AF. We identified participants who were hospitalised and compared the prevalence of AF before and after hospitalisation. RESULTS: Among 2580 participants, 436 (16.9%) had a surgical or medical hospitalisation. In the 30 days following a first hospitalisation, 43 participants (9.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 7.2%-13.1%) had > 6 minutes of device-detected AF; 20 (4.6%, 95% CI 2.8%-7.0%) had > 6 hours. More participants had AF > 6 minutes in the 30 days following hospitalisation compared with the period 30-60 days before hospitalisation (9.9% vs 4.4%; P < 0.001). Similar results were observed for episodes > 6 hours (4.6% vs 2.3%, P = 0.03). Roughly half of participants with device-detected AF in the 30 days following hospitalisation had at least 1 episode of the same duration in the 6 months before (50% [95% CI 31.3%-68.7%] for > 6 min; 68.8% [95% CI 41.3%-89.0%] for > 6 h). Those with AF in the 30 days following hospitalisation were more likely to have had AF in the past (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 7.2, 95% CI 3.2-15.8 for > 6 min; adjusted OR 32.6, 95% CI 10.3-103.4 for > 6 h). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of device-detected AF increases around the time of hospitalisation for noncardiac surgery or medical illness. About half of patients with AF around the time of hospitalisation previously had similar episodes.
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