Objective: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a progressive disease, associated with increased risk of mortality, stroke, heart failure, and worsens quality of life. There is a high incidence of AF recurrence despite the treatment. The aim of the study was to assess the time to recurrence of AF after sinus rhythm restoration with electrical or pharmacological cardioversion and to identify the risk factors.
Methods: This study included 101 patients with AF (56% females) at a mean age of 68.02±7 years, after sinus rhythm restoration in a clinical observation of 1-year placebo-controlled treatment with spironolactone (1: 1). The patients were analyzed on the basis of AF recurrence, hospitalization, demographic parameters, comorbidities, embolic risk, and value of biomarker galectin-3 (Gal-3).
Results: The average number of AF recurrences was1.62 per patient per year. The median time of occurrence of at least one new episode was 48 days, 95% confidence interval (CI) 14.24–81.76. Female patients experienced significantly more recurrences than male—53.3% vs. 28.6% hazard ration (HR) =1.76, 95% CI 1.02–3.03, p=0.036. The recurrences were more common with increased age, although not significantly. Patients with arterial hypertension had a threefold risk of recurrences than those without hypertension (p=0.025), independently of the treatment. CHA2DS2-VASc score was significantly associated with AF recurrent episodes. Patients with gout had a twofold increased risk, without statistical significance (p=0.15). There was no difference in the AF episodes according to treatment with spironolactone. The levels of Gal-3 did not affect the number of AF recurrences (p=0.9).
Conclusion: AF is associated with frequent recurrences after restoration of sinus rhythm in the majority of the patients. Most of them occurred within the first 3 months. Female sex, arterial hypertension, and CHA2DS2-VASc score were significant predictors of AF recurrence. Spironolactone did not reduce AF recurrences.