A study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology finds new-onset atrial fibrillation (AFib) in 1 in 20 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. AFib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib.
Using data from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry, researchers examined nearly 28,000 patients without a history of AFib who were hospitalized for COVID-19.
In this study, new-onset AFib was strongly associated with increased in-hospital mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events. Of the patients in the study, those who developed new-onset AFib while hospitalized experienced longer hospital stays and greater need for 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 atrial fibrillation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is a marker of adverse clinical factors.
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