Low Embolic Risk from Short Duration Atrial Fibrillation following Anatomic Lung Resection
There is no consensus regarding the merits of anticoagulation following short duration atrial arrhythmia and anatomic lung resection. We hypothesized that the risk of embolic event following episodes of atrial fibrillation (AF) lasting less than 48 hours is low and even with an elevated CHA2DS2-VASC score should not incur the risk of long-term full dose anticoagulation contrary to recommendations.
Design & Intervention
A retrospective review was performed of a prospectively maintained database of all patients undergoing anatomic lung resection at a single institution from 2014 to 2019. Patients who had new onset post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF) were queried as to their co-morbidities, the length of arrhythmia, discharge with anticoagulation, and any post-operative embolic events.
Main Outcome Measures
There were 565 patients who underwent anatomic lung resection. 40 patients (7.1%) developed new POAF that lasted a median of one day. In 32 patients (80%), POAF lasted for less than 48 hours. There were 28 males and 12 females, median age of 73 years. These patients underwent segmentectomy (2/40), lobectomy (24/40) and pneumonectomy (14/40). Twenty-nine patients were discharged home without anticoagulation. Median follow-up was 22 month (range 1.3 – 62.8 month). Two patients had embolic events and these two were discharged home without anticoagulation. The overall incidence rate of thromboembolic events was 3.2% per person year.
Our data suggest that the risk of arterial embolic events is low in patients with new, short duration atrial fibrillation post anatomical lung resection. Anticoagulation may not be necessary in these patients and can be given selectively.
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