Association Between Perioperative Atrial Fibrillation and Long-term Risks of Stroke and Death in Noncardiac Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
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Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is frequently reported as a complication of noncardiac surgery. It is unknown whether new-onset perioperative AF is associated with an increased risk of stroke and death beyond the perioperative period. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the long-term risks of stroke and mortality associated with new-onset perioperative AF after noncardiac surgery. Methods: MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched from inception to March 2020 for studies reporting on the association between perioperative AF and the risk of stroke and death occurring beyond 30 days after noncardiac surgery. Reference screening, study selection, data extraction, and quality assessment were performed in duplicate. Data were pooled using inverse variance-weighted random-effects models and presented as risk ratios (RRs). Results: From 7344 citations, we included 31 studies (3,529,493 patients). The weighted mean incidence of perioperative AF was 0.7%. During a mean follow-up of 28.1 ± 9.4 months, perioperative AF was associated with an increased risk of stroke (1.5 vs 0.9 strokes per 100 patient-years; RR: 2.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.1-3.9, I2 = 78%). Perioperative AF was also associated with a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality (21.0 vs 7.6 deaths per 100 patient-years; RR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.5-2.2, I2 = 94%). The pooled adjusted hazard ratios for stroke and all-cause mortality were 1.9 (95% CI: 1.6-2.2, I2 = 31%) and 1.5 (95% CI: 1.3-1.7, I2 = 20%), respectively. Conclusions: Patients who had perioperative AF after noncardiac surgery had a higher long-term risk of stroke and mortality compared with patients who did not. Whether this risk is modifiable with oral anticoagulation therapy should be investigated.