The Impact of Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation and Race on Long-Term Survival after Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

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Background and Aim:

Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is a known predictor of in-hospital morbidity and short-term survival after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The impact of race and long-term survival has not been examined in this population. We aimed to examine the influence of these factors on long-term survival in patients undergoing CABG.


Patients undergoing first-time, isolated CABG between 1992 and 2011 were included in this study. Long-term survival was compared in patients with and without POAF and stratified by race. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using a Cox regression model.


A total of 2,907 (22%) patients developed POAF (black n = 370; white n = 2,537) following CABG (N = 13,165). Median follow-up for study participants was 8.2 years. Long-term survival after CABG differed by POAF status and race (no POAF: HR = 1.0; white POAF: adjusted HR = 1.1, 95% CI = 1.06–1.2; black POAF: adjusted HR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.2–1.6; pTrend = 0.0002). Black POAF patients also died sooner after surgery than their white counterparts (adjusted HR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.02–1.4).


Black race was a statistically significant predictor of decreased survival among POAF patients after CABG. This finding provides useful outcome information for surgeons and their patients.

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