Clinical Management of New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation in COVID-19 Patients Referred to a Tertiary Cardiac Arrhythmia Center after Hospital Discharge

Link to article at PubMed

J Clin Med. 2022 Sep 26;11(19):5661. doi: 10.3390/jcm11195661.


BACKGROUND: Available reports on the post-discharge management of atrial fibrillation (AF) in COVID-19 patients are scarce. The aim of this case series was to describe the clinical outcomes of new-onset AF in COVID-19 patients referred to a tertiary cardiac arrhythmia center after hospital discharge.

METHODS: All consecutive patients referred to our center for an ambulatory evaluation from 18 May 2020 to 15 March 2022 were retrospectively screened. Patients were included in the current analysis if new-onset AF was diagnosed during hospitalization for COVID-19 and then referred to our clinic.

RESULTS: Among 946 patients, 23 (2.4%) were evaluated for new-onset AF during COVID-19. The mean age of the study cohort was 71.5 ± 8.1 years; 87.0% were male. Median time from COVID-19 discharge and the first ambulatory evaluation was 53 (41.5-127) days; median follow-up time was 175 (83-336) days. At the in-office evaluation, 14 (60.9%) patients were in sinus rhythm, and nine patients were in AF. In 13.0% of cases, oral anticoagulation was stopped according to CHADS-VASc. Eight patients in AF were scheduled for electrical cardioversion; one patient was rate-controlled. Four patients were treated with catheter ablation (CA) during follow-up. Two post-cardioversion AF recurrences were detected during follow-up, while no recurrences were diagnosed among patients who underwent CA.

CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that AF may not be considered as a simple bystander of the in-hospital COVID-19 course. Management of new-onset AF in post-COVID-19 patients referred to our clinic did not significantly differ from our usual practice, both in terms of long-term oral anticoagulation and in terms of rhythm control strategy.

PMID:36233529 | PMC:PMC9571676 | DOI:10.3390/jcm11195661

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