Incidence, Mortality, and Imaging Outcomes of Atrial Arrhythmias in COVID-19

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The American journal of cardiology


Atrial arrhythmias (AAs) are common in hospitalized patients with COVID-19; however, it remains uncertain if AAs are a poor prognostic factor in SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this retrospective cohort study from 2014 to 2021, we report in-hospital mortality in patients with new-onset AA and history of AA. The incidence of new-onset congestive heart failure (CHF), hospital length of stay and readmission rate, intensive care unit admission, arterial and venous thromboembolism, and imaging outcomes were also analyzed. We further compared the clinical outcomes with a propensity-matched influenza cohort. Generalized linear regression was performed to identify the association of AA with mortality and other outcomes, relative to those without an AA diagnosis. Predictors of new-onset AA were also modeled. A total of 6,927 patients with COVID-19 were included (626 with new-onset AA, 779 with history of AA). We found that history of AA (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.38, confidence interval [CI], 1.11 to 1.71, p = 0.003) and new-onset AA (aRR 2.02, 95% CI 1.68 to 2.43, p <0.001) were independent predictors of in-hospital mortality. The incidence of new-onset CHF was 6.3% in history of AA (odds ratio 1.91, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.79, p <0.001) and 11.3% in new-onset AA (odds ratio 4.01, 95% CI 3.00 to 5.35, p <0.001). New-onset AA was shown to be associated with worse clinical outcomes within the propensity-matched COVID-19 and influenza cohorts. The risk of new-onset AA was higher in patients with COVID-19 than influenza (aRR 2.02, 95% CI 1.76 to 2.32, p <0.0001), but mortality associated with new-onset AA was higher in influenza (aRR 12.58, 95% CI 4.27 to 37.06, p <0.0001) than COVID-19 (aRR 1.86, 95% CI 1.55 to 2.22, p <0.0001). In a subset of the patients with COVID-19 for which echocardiographic data were captured, abnormalities were common, including valvular abnormalities (40.9%), right ventricular dilation (29.6%), and elevated pulmonary artery systolic pressure (16.5%); although there was no evidence of a difference in incidence among the 3 groups. In conclusion, new-onset AAs are associated with poor clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19.

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ePub ahead of print