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Mortality after acute stroke worsened by accompanying acute AFib


 

The study covered in this summary was published on ResearchSquare.com as a preprint and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Key takeaway

  • Acute atrial fibrillation (AF) is an independent predictor of severity of neurological deficits from early acute ischemic stroke and a high-probability predictor of death within 30 days after such strokes.

Why this matters

  • A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between acute AF and risk for acute ischemic stroke and prognosis will help improve management and treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke.

Study design

  • The retrospective study included patients with acute ischemic stroke within the prior 24 hours; 12-lead electrocardiogram in the emergency department; and hospitalization and treatment at the hospital stroke center.
  • The cohort of 706 patients admitted to a single center in Shanghai, China, from December 2019 to December 2021, included 142 with episodes of acute AF and 564 without such episodes.
  • Patients with acute ischemic stroke and acute AF – including AF of new onset, paroxysmal, persistent, or permanent with symptoms such as palpitations or dizziness attributed to rapid ventricular rates – were identified.
  • Neurological deficits were assessed using the 7-day National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale/Score (NIHSS). Patients with a 7-day NIHSS score of at least 16 were considered to have moderate to severe stroke.
  • Associations between acute AF onset and the severity of early neurological deficits were assessed and related to all-cause mortality within 30 days of the stroke.

Key results

  • Patients with acute AF were older than those without acute AF (80.3 years vs. 71.0 years; P < .001).
  • Baseline NIHSS scores averaged 16.09 for the stroke patients with acute AF and 8.65 for those without acute AF (P < .001).
  • Significantly more patients with acute AF than without acute AF had a 7-day NIHSS score of at least 16 (45.1% vs. 14.4%; P < .001).
  • More patients with than without acute AF underwent transcatheter thrombectomy (44.4% vs. 24.5%; P < .001) or received thrombolytic therapy (31.6% vs. 19.7%; P = .005).
  • Patients aged 73 years or older showed baseline NIHSS score and acute AF as independent risk factors for early neurological deficits in stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.
  • Mortality at 30 days was significantly higher in patients with acute AF than in those without acute AF (30.3% vs. 10.1%; P < .001).
  • Baseline NIHSS had an adjusted odds ratio for 30-day mortality of 1.18 (95% confidence interval, 1.15-1.22; P < .001).
  • Other independent predictors included acute AF (1.87 [95% CI, 1.09-3.19; P = .022]) and age 73 or older (2.00 [95% CI, 1.18-3.37; P = .01]).

Limitations

  • The study was retrospective and didn’t have access to some potentially relevant data, such as duration of AF.
  • The single-center study with limited generalizability does not necessarily represent the broad population of stroke patients in China or elsewhere.

Disclosures

  • This study was supported by the Cardiovascular Multidisciplinary Integrated Research Fund and Construction of Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.
  • The authors report no relevant financial relationships.

This is a summary of a preprint research study, “Acute Atrial Fibrillation During Onset of Stroke Indicates Higher Probability of Post-Stroke Death Outcomes,” written by Yongxia Li, from the Shanghai Sixth People’s Hospital, and colleagues, on ResearchSquare.com. This study has not yet been peer reviewed. The full text of the study can be found on ResearchSquare.com.A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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