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Colorectal Dis. 2006 Mar;8(3):212-6.

Postoperative arrhythmias in colorectal surgical patients: incidence and clinical correlates.

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Department of General Surgery, Arrowe Park Hospital, Upton, UK.



To determine the incidence and clinical correlates of postoperative cardiac arrhythmias in patients undergoing elective large bowel resection.


Fifty-one consecutive patients undergoing elective open colorectal resection were recruited for this prospective observational study. Participating patients underwent daily three-lead electrocardiograms postoperatively. Data regarding potential risk factors for arrhythmias were recorded. Post-operative complications were recorded.


Thirteen (26%) patients developed a postoperative arrhythmia, most commonly atrial fibrillation. Significant univariate correlates with postoperative arrhythmias were: age (P<0.01), hypertension (P<0.01), pre-operative serum potassium levels (P<0.01), postoperative pulmonary oedema (P=0.03), postoperative serum potassium (P=0.03) and sodium (P<0.01). Arrhythmia patients were more likely to have other complications (P=0.02). Thirty-one percent of arrhythmia patients had underlying sepsis compared with 18% of controls (P=0.38).


Arrhythmias are common following elective large bowel resection. They occur in older patients and are associated with the development of other complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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