Epidemiology and Prognostic Importance of Atrial Fibrillation in Kidney Transplant Recipients: A Meta-Analysis

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J Clin Med


This meta-analysis was conducted with the aims to summarize all available evidence on (1) prevalence of pre-existing atrial fibrillation (AF) and/or incidence of AF following kidney transplantation; (2) the outcomes of kidney transplant recipients with AF; and (3) the trends of estimated incidence of AF following kidney transplantation over time. A literature search was conducted utilizing MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database from inception through March 2018. We included studies that reported (1) prevalence of pre-existing AF or incidence of AF following kidney transplantation or (2) outcomes of kidney transplant recipients with AF. Effect estimates from the individual study were extracted and combined utilizing random-effect, generic inverse variance method of DerSimonian and Laird. The protocol for this meta-analysis is registered with PROSPERO (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews; no. CRD42018086192). Eight cohort studies with 137,709 kidney transplant recipients were enrolled. Overall, the pooled estimated prevalence of pre-existing AF in patients undergoing kidney transplantation was 7.0% (95% CI: 5.6⁻8.8%) and pooled estimated incidence of AF following kidney transplantation was 4.9% (95% CI: 1.7⁻13.0%). Meta-regression analyses were performed and showed no significant correlations between year of study and either prevalence of pre-existing AF (p = 0.93) or post-operative AF after kidney transplantation (p = 0.16). The pooled odds ratios (OR) of mortality among kidney transplant recipients with AF was 1.86 (3 studies; 95% CI: 1.03⁻3.35). In addition, AF is also associated with death-censored allograft loss (2 studies; OR: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.02⁻2.35) and stroke (3 studies; OR: 2.54, 95% CI: 1.11⁻5.78) among kidney transplant recipients. Despite advances in medicine, incidence of AF following kidney transplant does not seem to decrease over time. In addition, there is a significant association of AF with increased mortality, allograft loss, and stroke after kidney transplantation.

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