Burden of preoperative atrial fibrillation in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting

S. Chris Malaisrie*, Patrick M. McCarthy, Jane Kruse, Roland Matsouaka, Adin Cristian Andrei, Maria V. Grau-Sepulveda, Daniel J. Friedman, James L. Cox, J. Matthew Brennan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: This study compares early and late outcomes in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting with and without preoperative atrial fibrillation in a contemporary, nationally representative Medicare cohort. Methods: In the Medicare-Linked Society of Thoracic Surgeons database, 361,138 patients underwent isolated coronary artery bypass from 2006 to 2013, of whom 37,220 (10.3%) had preoperative atrial fibrillation; 13,161 (35.4%) were treated with surgical ablation and were excluded. Generalized estimating equations were used to compare 30-day mortality and morbidity. Long-term survival was summarized using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression models. Stroke and systemic embolism incidence was modeled using the Fine-Gray model and the CHA2DS2-VASc score was used to analyze stroke risk. Median follow-up was 4 years. Results: Preoperative atrial fibrillation was associated with a higher adjusted in-hospital mortality (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; P <.0001) and combined major morbidity including stroke, renal failure, prolonged ventilation, reoperation, and deep sternal wound infection (OR, 1.32; P <.0001). Patients with preoperative atrial fibrillation experienced a higher adjusted long-term risk of all-cause mortality and cumulative risk of stroke and systemic embolism compared to those without atrial fibrillation. At 5 years, the survival probability in the preoperative atrial fibrillation versus no atrial fibrillation groups stratified by CHA2DS2-VASc scores was 74.8% versus 86.3% (score 1-3), 56.5% versus 73.2% (score 4-6), and 41.2% versus 57.2% (score 7-9; all P <.001). Conclusions: Preoperative atrial fibrillation is independently associated with worse early and late postoperative outcomes. CHA2DS2-VASc stratifies risk, even in those without preoperative atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2358-2367.e1
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • atrial fibrillation
  • cardiac surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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