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Ann Card Anaesth. 2010 Sep-Dec;13(3):196-205. doi: 10.4103/0971-9784.69047.

Atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery.

Author information

1
Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Cochin, Kerala, India. sgnair@aims.amrita.edu

Abstract

Once considered as nothing more than a nuisance after cardiac surgery, the importance of postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) has been realized in the last decade, primarily because of the morbidity associated with the condition. Numerous causative factors have been described without any single factor being singled out as the cause of this complication. POAF has been associated with stroke, renal failure and congestive heart failure, although it is difficult to state whether POAF is directly responsible for these complications. Guidelines have been formulated for prevention of POAF. However, very few cardiothoracic centers follow any form of protocol to prevent POAF. Routine use of prophylaxis would subject all patients to the side effects of anti-arrhythmic drugs, while only a minority of the patients do actually develop this problem postoperatively. Withdrawal of beta blockers in the postoperative period has been implicated as one of the major causes of POAF. Amiodarone, calcium channel blockers and a variety of other pharmacological agents have been used for the prevention of POAF. Atrial pacing is a non-pharmacological measure which has gained popularity in the prevention of POAF. There is considerable controversy regarding whether rate control is superior to rhythm control in the treatment of established atrial fibrillation (AF). Amiodarone plays a central role in both rate control and rhythm control in postoperative AF. Newer drugs like dronedarone and ranazoline are likely to come into the market in the coming years.

PMID:
20826960
DOI:
10.4103/0971-9784.69047
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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