Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation in the Course of Acute Pulmonary Embolism: Clinical Significance and Impact on Prognosis
Atrial fibrillation (AF) can induce a hypercoagulable state in both the left and right atria. Thrombus in the right side of the heart (RHT) may lead to acute pulmonary embolism (APE). The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of RHT and AF and to assess their impact on outcomes in patients with APE. The retrospective cohort included 1,006 patients (598 female), with a mean age of 66 ± 15 years. The primary end point was all-cause mortality. The secondary end point was incidence of complications (death, cardiogenic shock, cardiac arrest, vasopressor/inotrope treatment, or ventilatory support). Atrial fibrillation was detected in 231 patients (24%). RHT was observed in 50 patients (5%). The combination of AF and RHT was observed in 16 patients (2%). The overall mortality rate was significantly higher in patients with RHT compared with those without (32% vs 14%, respectively, odds ratio [OR] 3.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6 to 5.6, p = 0.001). The rate of complications was significantly higher in patients with RHT in comparison to those without (40% vs 22%, respectively, OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.4, p = 0.004). The mortality rate in patients with both AF and RHT was significantly higher in comparison to those with AF but without RHT (50% vs 20%, respectively, OR 3.86, 95% CI 1.3 to 11.2, p = 0.01). In multivariate analysis, RHT (p = 0.03) was an independent predictor of death. In conclusion, AF is a frequent co-morbidity in patients with APE, and the presence of RHT is not uncommon. Among patients with APE, the presence of RHT increases the mortality approximately threefold regardless of the presence of known AF.