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Derivation and Validation of a Clinical Score for Predicting Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation in Noncardiac Elective Surgery (the HART Score)

Published:February 23, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2022.01.020
      Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) represents the most frequent cardiac arrhythmia in the surgical setting. It affects almost 3% of all patients over 45 years old who underwent noncardiovascular surgery and is associated with a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and cardiac arrest. The study aimed to assess independent predictors of POAF and derive and validate a score for risk prediction in clinical practice. This was a retrospective cohort study including all consecutive candidates to all types of noncardiac elective surgery attending a cardiological preoperative assessment from 2016 to 2019. Exclusion criteria were a previous diagnosis of AF and the cancelation of the planned surgery. A total of 2,048 patients were enrolled (1350 men, aged 72 ± 12 years). A total of 44 patients experienced POAF (2.1%) – median 3 days (first to third quartile 2 to 4 days). Age (odds ratio [OR] 1.03 for each year, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01 to 1.07), hypertension (OR 3.43, 95% CI 1.22 to 9.63), thyroid dysfunction (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.22 to 5.01), and intermediate or high-risk surgery (OR 18.28, 95% CI 2.51 to 33.09) resulted as independent predictors of POAF (all p <0.05). The Hypertension, Age, surgery Risk, and Thyroid dysfunction score (OR 2.59 for each point, 95% CI 1.79 to 3.75, p <0.001) was then created based on those 4 items. A cut-off score ≥6 had a 70% sensitivity and a 72% specificity in detecting POAF (area under the curve 0.76). Bootstrapping for internal validation confirmed the overall results (area under the curve 0.72). In conclusion, POAF complicates around 2% of all noncardiac surgery. A 4-item risk score, such as the Hypertension, Age, surgery Risk, and Thyroid dysfunction score, could be effective in implementing POAF screening and improving management.
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