Researchers find link between COVID-19 and new-onset AF

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A study in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology has identified new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) in one in 20 patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

Using data from the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry, researchers examined nearly 28,000 patients without a history of AF who were hospitalised for COVID-19.

In this study, new-onset AF was strongly associated with increased in-hospital mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events. Of the patients in the study, those who developed new-onset AF while hospitalised experienced longer hospital stays and greater need for intensive care unit (ICU) care and intubation and approximately 45% died in the hospital. After multivariable adjustment for in-hospital factors and underlying comorbidities, the findings suggest new-onset AF in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 is a marker of adverse clinical factors.

“In 2001, experts predicted the number of Americans living with AF would double by 2050—the situation may be more dire following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jonathan Piccini (Group Duke University Medical Center, Durham, USA), volunteer chair of the AHA Atrial Fibrillation Systems of Care Advisory. “Research suggests AF is likely to influence more Americans and could put more people at greater risk of stroke and heart failure than previously expected.”


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