Hematopoietic Somatic Mosaicism Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2023 Apr 4;81(13):1263-1278. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2023.01.036.


Background: On-pump cardiac surgery triggers sterile inflammation and postoperative complications such as postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF). Hematopoietic somatic mosaicism (HSM) is a recently identified risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and results in a shift toward a chronic proinflammatory monocyte transcriptome and phenotype.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence, characteristics, and impact of HSM on preoperative blood and myocardial myeloid cells as well as on outcomes after cardiac surgery.

Methods: Blood DNA from 104 patients referred for surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR) was genotyped using the HemePACT panel (576 genes). Four screening methods were applied to assess HSM, and postoperative outcomes were explored. In-depth blood and myocardial leukocyte phenotyping was performed in selected patients using mass cytometry and preoperative and postoperative RNA sequencing analysis of classical monocytes.

Results: The prevalence of HSM in the patient cohort ranged from 29%, when considering the conventional HSM panel (97 genes) with variant allelic frequencies ≥2%, to 60% when considering the full HemePACT panel and variant allelic frequencies ≥1%. Three of 4 explored HSM definitions were significantly associated with higher risk for POAF. On the basis of the most inclusive definition, HSM carriers exhibited a 3.5-fold higher risk for POAF (age-adjusted OR: 3.5; 95% CI: 1.52-8.03; P = 0.003) and an exaggerated inflammatory response following AVR. HSM carriers presented higher levels of activated CD64+CD14+CD16- circulating monocytes and inflammatory monocyte-derived macrophages in presurgery myocardium.

Conclusions: HSM is frequent in candidates for AVR, is associated with an enrichment of proinflammatory cardiac monocyte-derived macrophages, and predisposes to a higher incidence of POAF. HSM assessment may be useful in the personalized management of patients in the perioperative period. (Post-Operative Myocardial Incident & Atrial Fibrillation [POMI-AF]; NCT03376165).

Keywords: cardiac surgery; clonal hematopoiesis; inflammation; postoperative atrial fibrillation; somatic mosaicism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve / surgery
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / etiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / genetics
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Mosaicism
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / genetics
  • Risk Factors

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03376165