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Background: There are conflicting data on whether new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) is independently associated with poor outcomes in COVID-19 patients. This study represents the largest dataset curated by manual chart review comparing clinical outcomes between patients with sinus rhythm, pre-existing AF, and new-onset AF. Objective: The primary aim of this study was to assess patient outcomes in COVID-19 patients with sinus rhythm, pre-existing AF, and new-onset AF. The secondary aim was to evaluate predictors of new-onset AF in patients with COVID-19 infection. Methods: This was a single-center retrospective study of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 admitted between March and September 2020. Patient demographic data, medical history, and clinical outcome data were manually collected. Adjusted comparisons were performed following propensity score matching between those with pre-existing or new-onset AF and those without AF. Results: The study population comprised of 1241 patients. A total of 94 (7.6%) patients had pre-existing AF and 42 (3.4%) patients developed new-onset AF. New-onset AF was associated with increased in-hospital mortality before (odds ratio [OR] 3.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.78-7.06, P < .005) and after (OR 2.80, 95% CI 1.01-7.77, P < .005) propensity score matching compared with the no-AF group. However, pre-existing AF was not independently associated with in-hospital mortality compared with patients with no AF (postmatching OR: 1.13, 95% CI 0.57–2.21, P = .732). Conclusion: New-onset AF, but not pre-existing AF, was independently associated with elevated mortality in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. This observation highlights the need for careful monitoring of COVID-19 patients with new-onset AF. Further research is needed to explain the mechanistic relationship between new-onset AF and clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Heart rhythm o2

Publication Date





700 - 707