Sex- and age specific association of new-onset atrial fibrillation with in-hospital mortality in hospitalised COVID-19 patients

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Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a systemic disease with cardiovascular involvement, including cardiac arrhythmias. Notably, new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL) during hospitalisation in COVID-19 patients has been associated with increased mortality. However, how this risk is impacted by age and sex is still poorly understood. Methods: For this multicentre cohort study, we extracted demographics, medical history, occurrence of electrical disorders and in-hospital mortality from the large international patient registry CAPACITY-COVID. For each electrical disorder, prevalence during hospitalisation was calculated. Subsequently, we analysed the incremental prognostic effect of developing AF/AFL on in-hospital mortality, using multivariable logistic regression analyses, stratified for sex and age. Results: In total, 5782 patients (64% male; median age 67) were included. Of all patients 11.0% (95% CI 10.2–11.8) experienced AF and 1.6% (95% CI 1.3–1.9) experienced AFL during hospitalisation. Ventricular arrhythmias were rare (<0.8% (95% CI 0.6–1.0)) and a conduction disorder was observed in 6.3% (95% CI 5.7–7.0). An event of AF/AFL appeared to occur more often in patients with pre-existing heart failure. After multivariable adjustment for age and sex, new-onset AF/AFL was significantly associated with a poorer prognosis, exemplified by a two- to three-fold increased risk of in-hospital mortality in males aged 60–72 years, whereas this effect was largely attenuated in older male patients and not observed in female patients. Conclusion: In this large COVID-19 cohort, new-onset AF/AFL was associated with increased in-hospital mortality, yet this increased risk was restricted to males aged 60–72 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100970
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalIJC Heart and Vasculature
Early online date4 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Age
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • COVID-19
  • Mortality
  • Prevalence
  • Sex


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