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Postoperative atrial fibrillation in noncardiothoracic surgical patients. Am J Surg 2001 Dec;182(6):713-5



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0035708542   82 Citations


BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation is a common arrhythmia whose prevalence increases with age. It is a well-known complication of cardiothoracic surgery, but the incidence and contributing factors to the development of atrial fibrillation in noncardiothoracic surgical patients are less well known. This study was undertaken to investigate the incidence, association with known risk factors, treatment, and outcome of atrial fibrillation in postoperative noncardiac, nonthoracic surgical patients.

METHODS: A 2-year retrospective review was performed of all noncardiac, nonthoracic surgical patients that developed atrial fibrillation within 30 days of operation. Incidence, risk factors, treatment and outcome related to the development of this arrhythmia were analyzed.

RESULTS: Fifty-one patients developed atrial fibrillation during this study period for an incidence of 0.37%. Most had preexisting cardiac risk factors, a positive fluid balance, or had electrolyte or arterial oxygen saturation abnormalities. Two thirds were discharged home on new cardiac medications, 16% remained in atrial fibrillation, and 12% died.

CONCLUSIONS: New onset atrial fibrillation in this group of noncardiothoracic surgical patients is an uncommon problem that is a morbid event associated with significant mortality.

Author List

Christians KK, Wu B, Quebbeman EJ, Brasel KJ


Kathleen K. Christians MD Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aged, 80 and over
Atrial Fibrillation
Middle Aged
Postoperative Complications
Retrospective Studies
Risk Factors
Treatment Outcome
Water-Electrolyte Balance