Relation of Recurrence of Atrial Fibrillation After Non–ST-Elevation Acute Myocardial Infarction to Left Atrial Abnormality

Published:November 12, 2007DOI:
      Atrial fibrillation (AF) is common during the course of acute myocardial infarction and is associated with left atrial (LA) dilatation. However, the role of LA depolarization abnormality on the electrocardiogram (ECG) in the setting of LA dilatation was not studied in this context. Patients admitted with non–ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) who developed new-onset AF (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code 427.31) were prospectively identified. Baseline ECGs and echocardiograms before the admission event were reviewed. Follow-up was directed toward pertinent cardiovascular events, atrial tachyarrhythmias, and death as end points. Of 101 patients with NSTEMI who had new-onset AF, 88 had current echocardiograms and 69 had LA dilatation (78%). Total follow-up was 24 months (mean 21.4). Prolonged P-wave duration (≥110 ms) and decreased left ventricular fractional shortening were most significant in those with LA dilatation and were independently associated with AF. In those with LA dilatation, the prevalence of such abnormal atrial depolarization on ECGs was 56%. AF (43% vs 15%; p = 0.03) and heart failure (63% vs 35%; p = 0.03) occurred more often in this subset, but there was no difference in mortality. However, the overall prevalence of late cardiovascular complications in this subset was higher (71% vs 45%; p = 0.02) compared with that of immediate complications (20% vs 26%; p = 0.60). In conclusion, there is higher recurrence of AF in patients with NSTEMI who have a combination of electrocardiographic and echocardiographic LA abnormalities compared with those without.
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