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New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation in Patients Undergoing Liver Transplantation: Retrospective Analysis of Risk Factors and Outcomes

July 27, 2022

Objective: The authors aimed to identify predictors of new-onset postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) during the initial 90 days following liver transplantation, and to assess the association between POAF in-hospital and 1-year mortality.
Design: A retrospective cohort study.
Setting: At a university hospital between 2005 and 2017.
Patients: Adults without a history of preoperative atrial fibrillation who underwent orthotopicliver transplantation.
Measurement and Main Results:
The authors assessed the univariate association between new-onset of POAF in the postoperative period and each potential factor through a logistic regression model. Moreover, they explored predictors for POAF through stepwise selection. Finally, the authors assessed the relationship between POAF and in-hospital and 1-year mortality using logistic regression models, and whether the duration of atrial fibrillation was associated with in-hospital and 1-year mortality. Among 857 patients, 89 (10.4%) developed POAF. Using only preoper- ative variables, pulmonary hypertension, age, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, and White race were identified as the most important predictors. Model discrimination was 0.75 (95% CI: 0.69-0.80), and incorporating intraoperative variables was 0.77 (95% CI: 0.72- 0.82). In-hospital mortality was observed in 7.2% (6/83) of patients with new-onset of POAF, and in 2.8% (22/768) without, with confounder- adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.00 (97.5% CI: 0.29,3.45; p = 0.996). One-year mortality was 22.4% (20/89) in patients who developed POAF and 8.3% (64/768) in patients who did not, confounder-adjusted OR 2.64 (97.5% CI: 1.35-5.16; p = 0.001). The duration of POAF did not affect long-term postoperative mortality.
Preoperative, mostly unmodifiable comorbidities are important risk factors for new-onset POAF after liver transplantation. The POAF was not associated with in-hospital mortality, but with increased 1-year mortality. Once developed, the duration of POAF did not affect long-term mortality after a liver transplant.