New-onset postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) after cardiac surgery is common, with rates up to 60%. POAF has been associated with early and late stroke, but its association with other cardiovascular outcomes is less known. The objective was to perform a meta-analysis of the studies reporting the association of POAF with perioperative and long-term outcomes in patients with cardiac surgery.
We performed a systematic review and a meta-analysis of studies that presented outcomes for cardiac surgery on the basis of the presence or absence of POAF. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were assessed; 57 studies (246,340 patients) were selected. Perioperative mortality was the primary outcome. Inverse variance method and random model were performed. Leave-one-out analysis, subgroup analyses, and metaregression were conducted.
POAF was associated with perioperative mortality (odds ratio [OR], 1.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.58-2.33), perioperative stroke (OR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.90-2.49), perioperative myocardial infarction (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.06-1.54), perioperative acute renal failure (OR, 2.74; 95% CI, 2.42-3.11), hospital (standardized mean difference, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.53-1.07) and intensive care unit stay (standardized mean difference, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.24-0.86), long-term mortality (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.54; 95% CI, 1.40-1.69), long-term stroke (IRR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.21-1.46), and longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation (IRR, 4.73; 95% CI, 3.36-6.66).
The results suggest that POAF after cardiac surgery is associated with an increased occurrence of most short- and long-term cardiovascular adverse events. However, the causality of this association remains to be established.