BACKGROUND: Postoperative atrial fibrillation (pAF) after coronary artery bypass grafting is a common complication. Whether pAF is associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) remains uncertain. We investigated the association between pAF and long-term risk of CVA by performing a post hoc analysis of 10-year outcomes of the ART (Arterial Revascularization Trial). METHODS: For the present analysis, among patients enrolled in the ART (n=3102), we excluded those who did not undergo surgery (n=25), had a history of atrial fibrillation (n=45), or had no information on the incidence of pAF (n=9). The final population consisted of 3023 patients, of whom 734 (24.3%) developed pAF with the remaining 2289 maintaining sinus rhythm. Competing risk and Cox regression analyses were used to investigate the association between pAF and the risk of CVA. RESULTS: At 10 years, the cumulative incidence of CVA was 6.3% (4.6%-8.1%) versus 3.7% (2.9%-4.5%) in patients with pAF and sinus rhythm, respectively. pAF was an independent predictor of CVA at 10 years (hazard ratio, 1.53 [95% CI, 1.06-2.23]; P=0.025) even when CVAs that occurred during the index admission were excluded from the analysis (hazard ratio, 1.47 [95% 1.02-2.11]; P=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with pAF after coronary artery bypass grafting are at higher risk of CVA. These findings challenge the notion that pAF is a benign complication.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1320 - 1329


atrial fibrillation, coronary artery bypass, stroke