Does new-onset postoperative atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass grafting affect postoperative quality of life?

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Abstract

Objectives:

New-onset postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is a common complication after cardiac surgery. We investigated the effect of POAF on quality of life after coronary artery bypass grafting.

Methods:

All patients who underwent nonemergency coronary artery bypass grafting between March 2009 and January 2011 were requested to complete a Short Form-36 Health Survey before and 6 months after the procedure. Norm-based scores of 8 health status domains and 2 component summary scores were calculated. Only patients undergoing first-time coronary artery bypass grafting, with no history of atrial fibrillation, were included in the analyses.

Results:

Of 1608 patients, 360 (22.4%) had POAF diagnosed. Twenty-eight patients died within half a year after the procedure (1.7% in the no POAF group and 1.8% in the POAF group; P = .90). After excluding these patients, data from 1580 patients were analyzed. Preoperative questionnaires were returned by 66% of the patients and postoperative questionnaires by 65%. Preoperative scores did not differ between patients with and without POAF in any subcategory (0/10). After the procedure, 4 of 10 scores were worse in the group with POAF compared to patients without POAF. Patients without POAF improved in all subcategories (10/10) after the procedure, whereas those with POAF did so in only 7 of 10. Multilinear regression showed POAF to be an independent negative predictor for improved quality of life 6 months postoperatively in 7 of 10 subcategories, including both mental and physical component summary scores.

Conclusions:

New-onset POAF does affect 6-month postoperative mental and physical health, possibly warranting more aggressive POAF treatment.

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