Atrial Fibrillation Ups Mortality Risk in Motor Vehicle Accidents

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Atrial Fibrillation Ups Mortality Risk in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Atrial Fibrillation Ups Mortality Risk in Motor Vehicle Accidents

FRIDAY, June 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Atrial fibrillation may increase the risks associated with car accidents, according to a study presented at the joint meeting of the European Heart Rhythm Association of the European Society of Cardiology and Cardiostim, held from June 8 to 11 in Nice, France.

Abhishek Deshmukh, M.D., a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues analyzed data from 2,980,000 drivers, passengers, and bystanders who were involved in a traffic accident and admitted to U.S. hospitals between 2003 and 2012. Of those patients, 2.6 percent had atrial fibrillation.

The researchers found that mortality rates were 7.6 percent for those with atrial fibrillation and 2.6 percent for those without the condition. After adjusting for factors such as age, gender, injury severity, and preexisting conditions, the researchers still found crash victims with atrial fibrillation had a 1.5 times higher risk of dying in the hospital than those without the disorder. The researchers also found that the average hospital stay after a traffic accident was nine days for those with atrial fibrillation and only six days for those without the condition. The average cost of hospital stay was $28,217 for those with atrial fibrillation, and $19,615 for those without.

"There is limited information about the impact of atrial fibrillation on daily activities such as driving. This is the first study to investigate the effect of atrial fibrillation on death and length of hospital stay after a motor vehicle accident," Deshmukh said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology. "Atrial fibrillation is associated with higher mortality, length of stay and cost when patients are hospitalized for bypass surgery, hip replacement, or heart failure. Our research shows that atrial fibrillation is also associated with worse outcomes in patients involved in motor vehicle accidents."

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