Atrial fibrillation independently prolongs hospital stay after coronary artery bypass surgery

Clin Cardiol. 2000 Mar;23(3):155-9. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960230305.


Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia occurring in patients after coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).

Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to determine whether AF independently prolonged postoperative length of stay (LOS).

Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing elective CABG were identified. Baseline clinical variables, postoperative course including the development of AF, and postoperative LOS were recorded.

Results: In all, 216 patients (aged 61 +/- 13 years) were examined. Postoperative LOS was 11.3 +/- 6.4 days (median LOS = 9 days). Fifty-five patients (25%) developed AF. Among 16 variables examined, the univariate predictors of LOS included age (p < 0.001), preoperative left ventricular ejection fraction (p < 0.001), absence of a prior smoking history (p < 0.05), bypass limited to venous conduits (p < 0.001), postoperative AF (p < 0.001), and the occurrence of a postoperative event (p < 0.001). Length of stay for patients who developed AF was significantly longer than that for patients who did not (15.1 +/- 9.0 vs. 10.0 +/- 4.6 days, p < 0.001). After adjusting for other significant variables, the occurrence of AF after CABG independently prolonged LOS: patients who developed AF stayed 3.2 +/- 1.7 days longer than patients who did not (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Atrial fibrillation lengthens hospital stay after CABG, and its effect is independent of other important variables. Identification of patients who are at risk for AF and successful treatment to prevent AF will likely contribute to major reductions in consumption of health care resources in patients with CABG.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Coronary Disease / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prospective Studies