Aug 9, 2011

Post-operative atrial fibrillation: a maze of mechanisms

Europace : European Pacing, Arrhythmias, and Cardiac Electrophysiology : Journal of the Working Groups on Cardiac Pacing, Arrhythmias, and Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology of the European Society of Cardiology
Bart MaesenUlrich Schotten

Abstract

Post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is one of the most frequent complications of cardiac surgery and an important predictor of patient morbidity as well as of prolonged hospitalization. It significantly increases costs for hospitalization. Insights into the pathophysiological factors causing POAF have been provided by both experimental and clinical investigations and show that POAF is 'multi-factorial'. Facilitating factors in the mechanism of the arrhythmia can be classified as acute factors caused by the surgical intervention and chronic factors related to structural heart disease and ageing of the heart. Furthermore, some proarrhythmic mechanisms specifically occur in the setting of POAF. For example, inflammation and beta-adrenergic activation have been shown to play a prominent role in POAF, while these mechanisms are less important in non-surgical AF. More recently, it has been shown that atrial fibrosis and the presence of an electrophysiological substrate capable of maintaining AF also promote the arrhythmia, indicating that POAF has some proarrhythmic mechanisms in common with other forms of AF. The clinical setting of POAF offers numerous opportunities to study its mechanisms. During cardiac surgery, biopsies ca...Continue Reading

  • References175
  • Citations105

References

  • References175
  • Citations105

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Congenital Structural Myopathy
Morbidity Aspects
Reinforcing Factors
Discipline of Heart Surgery
Right Atrial Structure
Etiology
Atrial Fibrillation
Cardiac Conduction System
Aging
Inflammation

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