There is a paucity of data on long-term survival of new-onset postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) after cardiac surgery. Also, mean follow-up in previous studies is confined to a maximum of one decade. This retrospective, longitudinal cohort study was performed to determine the effect on long-term survival of new-onset POAF after aortic valve replacement (AVR) over a mean follow-up of almost 2 decades.Methods
Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to determine long-term survival after AVR, performed between January 1, 1990, and January 1, 1994, in 569 consecutive patients without a history of atrial fibrillation, divided into 241 patients (42.4%) with and 328 patients (57.6%) without new-onset POAF. New-onset POAF was considered in multivariable analysis for decreased long-term survival. After AVR, patients with new-onset POAF were treated with the aim to restore sinus rhythm within 24 to 48 hours from onset by medication and when medication failed by direct-current cardioversion before discharge home.Results
Mean follow-up after AVR was 17.8 ± 1.9 years. Incidence of new-onset POAF was 42.4%. Kaplan-Meier overall cumulative survival rates at 15 years of follow-up were similar in the patients with new-onset POAF versus those without: 41.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 35.2-47.7) versus 41.3% (95% CI, 36.0-46.7), respectively. New-onset POAF was not an independent risk factor for decreased long-term survival (hazard ratio 0.815; 95% CI, 0.663-1.001; P = .052).Conclusions
New-onset POAF after AVR does not affect long-term survival when treatment is aimed to restore sinus rhythm before discharge home.