Long-term outcomes following development of new-onset atrial fibrillation during sepsis

Chest. 2014 Nov;146(5):1187-1195. doi: 10.1378/chest.14-0003.


Background: New-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with adverse outcomes during a sepsis hospitalization; however, long-term outcomes following hospitalization with sepsis-associated new-onset AF are unclear.

Methods: We used a Medicare 5% sample to identify patients who survived hospitalization with sepsis between 1999 and 2010. AF status was defined as no AF, prior AF, or new-onset AF based on AF claims during and prior to a sepsis hospitalization. We used competing risk models to determine 5-year risks of AF occurrence, heart failure, ischemic stroke, and mortality after the sepsis hospitalization, according to AF status during the sepsis admission.

Results: We identified 138,722 sepsis survivors, of whom 95,536 (69%) had no AF during sepsis, 33,646 (24%) had prior AF, and 9,540 (7%) had new-onset AF during sepsis. AF occurrence following sepsis hospitalization was more common among patients with new-onset AF during sepsis (54.9%) than in patients with no AF during sepsis (15.5%). Compared with patients with no AF during sepsis, those with new-onset AF during sepsis had greater 5-year risks of hospitalization for heart failure (11.2% vs 8.2%; multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.25; 95% CI, 1.16-1.34), ischemic stroke (5.3% vs 4.7%; HR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.10-1.36), and death (74.8% vs 72.1%; HR, 1.04; 95% CI,1.01-1.07).

Conclusions: Most sepsis survivors with new-onset AF during sepsis have AF occur after discharge from the sepsis hospitalization and have increased long-term risks of heart failure, ischemic stroke, and death. Our findings may have implications for posthospitalization surveillance of patients with new-onset AF during a sepsis hospitalization.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization / trends
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / complications*
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology