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PURPOSE: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the long-term outcomes of patients who develop new-onset atrial fibrillation (NOAF) during an intensive care unit (ICU) admission. METHODS: We searched the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from 2000 to 2022. We included studies of adults based in general ICUs that evaluated long-term outcomes (at least 30 days after hospital discharge) of NOAF. We excluded studies involving patients with a history of atrial fibrillation (AF). We performed risk of bias assessment of the included studies based on a modified Newcastle Ottawa score (NOS). We extracted summary data for long-term outcomes. Where the outcome was reported in three or more studies we pooled effect sizes. RESULTS: We screened 2206 studies and included 15 studies reporting data from 561,797 patients. Pooled analysis of 4 studies using a random effects model revealed an association between NOAF acquired in an ICU and 90-day mortality (including ICU and hospital mortality) (RR 1.53, 95% CI 1.12-2.08). We also found an association between NOAF and 1-year mortality from 7 studies (RR 1.79, 95% CI 1.65-1.96), which remained when analysing 1-year mortality in hospital survivors (RR 1.72 (95% CI 1.49-1.98). CONCLUSIONS: In patients who develop NOAF in an ICU, both 90-day and 1-year mortality are increased in comparison to those who do not develop NOAF. Current evidence suggests an increased risk of thromboembolic events after hospital discharge in patients who develop NOAF in an ICU.

Original publication




Journal article


J Crit Care

Publication Date





Critical illness, Intensive care, Mortality, New-onset atrial fibrillation, Outcomes, Stroke