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Abstract Aims New-onset atrial fibrillation (NOAF) is common in patients treated on an intensive care unit (ICU), but the long-term impacts on patient outcomes are unclear. We compared national hospital and long-term outcomes of patients who developed NOAF in ICU with those who did not, before and after adjusting for comorbidities and ICU admission factors. Methods and results Using the RISK-II database (Case Mix Programme national clinical audit of adult intensive care linked with Hospital Episode Statistics and mortality data), we conducted a retrospective cohort study of 4615 patients with NOAF and 27 690 matched controls admitted to 248 adult ICUs in England, from April 2009 to March 2016. We examined in-hospital mortality; hospital readmission with atrial fibrillation (AF), heart failure, and stroke up to 6 years post discharge; and mortality up to 8 years post discharge. Compared with controls, patients who developed NOAF in the ICU were at a higher risk of in-hospital mortality [unadjusted odds ratio (OR) 3.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.02–3.44], only partially explained by patient demographics, comorbidities, and ICU admission factors (adjusted OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.38–1.63). They were also at a higher risk of subsequent hospitalization with AF [adjusted cause-specific hazard ratio (aCHR) 5.86, 95% CI 5.33–6.44], stroke (aCHR 1.47, 95% CI 1.12–1.93), and heart failure (aCHR 1.28, 95% CI 1.14–1.44) independent of pre-existing comorbidities. Conclusion Patients who develop NOAF during an ICU admission are at a higher risk of in-hospital death and readmissions to hospital with AF, heart failure, and stroke than those who do not.

Original publication




Journal article


European Heart Journal. Acute Cardiovascular Care


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date