(HealthDay News) — Perioperative atrial fibrillation is associated with an increased risk of subsequent stroke, especially after noncardiac surgery, according to a study published in the August 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Gino Gialdini, MD, from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues examined the correlation between perioperative atrial fibrillation and the long-term risk of stroke in a retrospective cohort study. Administrative claims data were included for 1,729,360 eligible patients who were hospitalized for surgery and discharged alive and free of documented cerebrovascular disease or preexisting atrial fibrillation. The correlation between atrial fibrillation newly diagnosed during the index hospitalization and stroke one year after surgery was assessed.

The researchers found that 1.43% of eligible patients had new-onset perioperative atrial fibrillation during the index hospitalization, and after discharge, 0.81% of participants experienced a stroke. After accounting for potential confounders, perioperative atrial fibrillation correlated with subsequent stroke after noncardiac surgery (hazard ratio, 2.0) and after cardiac surgery (hazard ratio, 1.3). Perioperative atrial fibrillation was more strongly associated with stroke after noncardiac vs. cardiac surgery (P<0.001 for interaction).

“Among patients hospitalized for surgery, perioperative atrial fibrillation was associated with an increased long-term risk of ischemic stroke, especially following noncardiac surgery,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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