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Risk factors for new-onset atrial fibrillation on the general adult ICU: protocol for a systematic review
  1. Jonathan Bedford1,
  2. Mirae Harford1,
  3. Tatjana Petrinic2,
  4. J Duncan Young1,
  5. Peter J Watkinson1
  1. 1 Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 Bodleian Health Care Libraries, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jonathan Bedford; Jonathan.Bedford{at}


Introduction Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia in the critical care environment. New-onset AF is associated with increased mortality and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay. Observational studies have identified several epidemiological and disease severity-related factors associated with developing new-onset AF on the ICU. However, there are limited data on the modifiable risk factors in the general adult ICU population.

We describe a protocol for a systematic review of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for new-onset AF in the general adult ICU population. The results of this review will aid the development of risk prediction tools and inform future research into AF prevention on the ICU.

Methods and analysis Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Excerpta Medica database and the Cochrane Library, including Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials will be searched for studies that assess the association of patient variables, investigation results, interventions and diagnoses associated with subsequent new-onset AF on the ICU.

Only studies involving adult patients admitted to non-service-specific ICUs will be included. We will extract data relating to the statistical association between reversible and non-reversible factors and AF, the quality of the studies and the generalisability of the results. This systematic review will be reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses.

Ethics and dissemination This proposed systematic review will be based on published data, and therefore ethical approval is not required. The findings of this study will be disseminated through publication in a peer reviewed journal and will be presented at conferences.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42017074221.

  • atrial fibrillation
  • risk factors
  • critical illness
  • intensive care units
  • intensive care

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  • Contributors All authors made substantial contributions towards the design of this protocol. All team members contributed to the review and revision and have given their approval for this version to be published. All authors are accountable for the accuracy or integrity of this document. JB, MH, DY, PJW have substantially contributed to the design of the systematic review protocol. TP developed the search strategy. JB, DY, PJW wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. PJW is guarantor of this manuscript.

  • Funding This work has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (Oxford).

  • Disclaimer The funders have not been involved in the study design or reporting and played no role in developing the review. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health or NIHR.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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