Short-term and Long-term Risk of Stroke in Patients With Perioperative Atrial Fibrillation After Cardiac Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
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BACKGROUND: Perioperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) after cardiac surgery has been associated with an increased risk of stroke in some studies. However, the exact magnitude of this association during short-term and long-term follow-up remains unclear. METHODS: We searched PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) for the time period from database inception to October 2020. We included observational studies with ≥ 100 patients that reported data on short-term or long-term stroke risk in patients with and without POAF after cardiac surgery. Data were pooled using random-effects models. We reported summary risk ratios (RRs) for studies reporting multivariable adjusted results and calculated absolute risk differences (ARDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS: A total of 55 studies with 540,209 patients were included. POAF was associated with both an increased relative risk (RR 1.69; 95% CI, 1.41-2.03; I2 = 82%; 9 studies) and absolute risk of short-term stroke (4.5% vs 2.5%; ARD 2.0%; 95% CI, 1.28-2.89). POAF was associated with an increased relative risk (RR 1.20; 95% CI, 1.12-1.29; I2 = 16%; 10 studies) and absolute risk of long-term stroke (1.06 vs 0.88 per 100 patient-years; ARD 0.18 per 100 patient-years; 95% CI, 0.07-0.26). Sensitivity analyses of high-quality studies and studies reporting either ischemic or embolic strokes yielded similar findings. CONCLUSIONS: POAF after cardiac surgery was associated with an increased risk of both short-term and long-term stroke. However, the long-term stroke ARD was small, and whether these patients will benefit from long-term oral anticoagulation therapy is unclear.