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Recurrent event survival analysis predicts future risk of hospitalization in patients with paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation

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BACKGROUND: In patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) or persistent atrial fibrillation (PeAF) symptom burden and fear of hospital readmission are major causes of reduced quality of life. We attempted to develop a prediction model for future atrial fibrillation hospitalization (AFH) risk in PAF and PeAF patients including all previously experienced AFHs in the analysis, as opposed to time to first event.

METHODS: Recurrent event survival analysis was used to model the impact of past AFHs on the risk of future AFHs. A recurrent event was defined as a hospitalization due to a new episode of AF. Death or progression to permanent AF were included as competing risks.

RESULTS: We enrolled 174 patients with PAF or PeAF, mean follow up duration was 1279 days, and 325 AFHs were observed. Median patient age was 63.0 (IQR 52.2-68.0), 29% had PAF, and 71% were male. Highly significant predictors of future AFH risk were PeAF (HR 3.20, CI 2.01-5.11) and number of past AFHs observed (HR for 1 event: 2.97, CI 2.04-4.32, HR for ≥2 events: 7.54, CI 5.47-10.40).

CONCLUSION: In PAF and PeAF patients, AF type and observed AFH frequency are highly significant predictors of future AFH risk. The developed model enables risk prediction in individual patients based on AFH history and baseline characteristics, utilizing all events experienced by the patient. This is the first time recurrent event survival analysis has been used in AF patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217983
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)e0217983
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

ID: 57329502