Background: Heart failure and atrial fibrillation (AFib) are the twin epidemics of modern cardiovascular disease. The incidence of new-onset AFib in acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) patients is difficult to predict and the short- and long-term outcomes of AFib in a cohort of patients admitted with ADHF are unknown. Methods and Results: A total of 904 patients admitted with ADHF were studied. Incidence of AFib on admission was recorded and a multivariate analysis was performed using echocardiographic parameters to specify the predictors of AFib incidence in this cohort. In 904 ADHF patients (57% male, mean age 69 ± 14 years), 81% had history of hypertension, 40% were diabetics, and 51% were smokers. A total of 63% of the patients had known heart failure (HF) with mean ejection fraction of 34% ± 21%, and 33% of the patients had ischemic cardiomyopathy as the etiology of HF. Echocardiographic parameters were: left atrial (LA) diameter 4.5 ± 0.8 cm, left ventricular end-systolic 4.1 ± 1.3 cm, left ventricular end-diastolic 5.3 ± 1.1 cm. Right ventricular dysfunction (RVD) was present in 34% of the patients. A total of 191 (21%) patients subsequently developed AFib with two thirds of the cases occurring in patients with RVD. Using a univariate analysis, older age (OR 1.02; P < .0001), history of HF (OR 2.93; P < .0001), LA dilation (OR 1.58; P < .0001), the presence of left ventricular hypertrophy (OR 3.01, P < .0001), and RVD (OR 4.93; P < .00001) were the strongest predictors for AFib. Controlling for LA size and left ventricular hypertrophy using a forward stepwise regression, RVD remained the strongest predictor (OR 4.45; P < .0001). Patients with RVD had more events (cardiac readmission and mortality) than those with normal RV (56% versus 38%; P < .00001), notably; all-cause mortality was 4.7%/year in the abnormal RV group versus 2.9%/year in the normal RV group; P < .05. RV function analyses by echocardiography further risk stratified these patients based on their rhythm categorizing those patients with abnormal RV and AFib as the ones with the worse prognosis. Conclusion: RV dysfunction is a strong predictor for developing AFib in acutely decompensated systolic failure patients. Patients with AFib and RVD have the worse outcome specially when is combined with LV dysfunction, therefore; evaluation of RV function may substantiate the difference in HF prognosis.
- Acute decompensated systolic heart failure
- atrial fibrillation
- right ventricular function