Incidence and Complications of Perioperative Atrial Fibrillation After Non-Cardiac Surgery for Malignancy

Perioperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is one of the common arrhythmias in the setting of non-cardiac surgeries for malignancy. As POAF may cause subsequent adverse events, it is important to confirm its characteristics and risk factors. 

The prospective cohort study of surveillance for perioperative atrial fibrillation recurrence (PREDICT AF RECURRENCE) is an ongoing prospective, single-center, observational study that aims to illustrate the clinical impact of POAF in major non-cardiac surgery for malignancy. Patients who planned to undergo non-cardiac surgery for definitive/suspected malignancy were registered. Those with a history of AF and atrial flutter were excluded. Any 30-day complications included acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, bleeding, thrombosis, any infection, and acute kidney injury. The primary endpoint was an incidence of POAF. 

The present study included 799 patients (age, 68 ± 11; male, 62%). Of these, 80 patients (10.0%) developed POAF. Notably, 66 patients (83%) had no symptoms. Any 30-day complications occurred in 180 patients (23%) (with POAF: 34 (43%); without POAF: 146 (20%); p < 0.001). POAF in 17 patients (50%) was preceded by the development of complications. No patient developed cardiogenic shock and/or acute heart failure. The association between 30-day complications and POAF development were analyzed using the multivariate adjusted model (odds ratio: 2.84; 95% confidence interval: 1.74-4.62; p < 0.001). 

Ten percent of patients who underwent non-cardiac surgery for malignancy developed POAF, which was strongly associated with perioperative complications. As a majority were asymptomatic, careful observation using electrocardiography monitoring is important to avoid oversights.