Electrocardiographic risk factors of new-onset atrial fibrillation among critically ill patients with sepsis: a case-referent study
Ambrus, Daniel Balint
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BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) that occurs during acute critical illnesses such as sepsis may have different risk factors than AF that occurs in the community setting. METHODS: We investigated associations between baseline electrocardiographic (ECG) parameters related to conduction, ischemia, and chamber size and new-onset AF that occurs in the setting of severe sepsis in a matched case-referent study. We matched 100 patients with new-onset AF during sepsis to 300 patients with similar age (plus or minus 5 years) who were hospitalized within Boston Medical Center intensive care units (ICU) between 2003-2009 with sepsis. Variables that were found to be significant (p<0.05) during conditional univariable logistic regression were entered into age, sex and race-adjusted conditional logistic regression in order to identify risk factors for new-onset AF during sepsis. RESULTS: Among 100 case and 300 referent patients with sepsis, the distribution of mean age was 69 +/-11 years vs. 71 +/- 11 years, sex was 42% female vs. 49% female, and race was 56% white and 33% black vs. 65% white and 21% black between cases and referents, respectively. Univariable analysis revealed that older age per year [OR 1.25 95% CI (1.07-1.46), p<0.01], longer PR interval per millisecond [168 +/- 43 ms vs. 157 +/- 30 ms; OR 1.01 95% CI (1.00-1.02), p=0.02], and presence of left bundle branch block (LBBB) [9 (9%) vs. 7 (2.3%); OR 4.42 95% CI (1.45-13.5), p<0.01] were significant risk factors among the new-AF cases. Our multivariable model found significant associations between new-onset AF during hospitalization and presence of prolonged PR interval per millisecond [OR 1.01 95% CI (1.00-1.02), p=0.04] and LBBB [OR 6.83 95% CI (1.68-27.8), p=0.01] on ICU admission ECG. CONCLUSION: Increased PR interval length and LBBB found on a 12-lead ECG upon ICU admission was associated with new-onset AF during hospitalization in the setting of sepsis.
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