Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc. 2022 Feb 4:100970. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcha.2022.100970. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a systemic disease with cardiovascular involvement, including cardiac arrhythmias. Notably, new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL) during hospitalisation in COVID-19 patients has been associated with increased mortality. However, how this risk is impacted by age and sex is still poorly understood.
METHODS: For this multicentre cohort study, we extracted demographics, medical history, occurrence of electrical disorders and in-hospital mortality from the large international patient registry CAPACITY-COVID. For each electrical disorder, prevalence during hospitalisation was calculated. Subsequently, we analysed the incremental prognostic effect of developing AF/AFL on in-hospital mortality, using multivariable logistic regression analyses, stratified for sex and age.
RESULTS: In total, 5,782 patients (64% male; median age 67) were included. Of all patients 11.0% (95% CI 10.2-11.8) experienced AF and 1.6% (95% CI 1.3-1.9) experienced AFL during hospitalisation. Ventricular arrhythmias were rare (<0.8% (95% CI 0.6-1.0)) and a conduction disorder was observed in 6.3% (95% CI 5.7-7.0). An event of AF/AFL appeared to occur more often in patients with pre-existing heart failure. After multivariable adjustment for age and sex, new-onset AF/AFL was significantly associated with a poorer prognosis, exemplified by a two- to three-fold increased risk of in-hospital mortality in males aged 60-72 years, whereas this effect was largely attenuated in older male patients and not observed in female patients.
CONCLUSION: In this large COVID-19 cohort, new-onset AF/AFL was associated with increased in-hospital mortality, yet this increased risk was restricted to males aged 60-72 years.