n Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - atrial fibrillation post cardiac surgery : the Durban experience : cardiovascular topic




Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common complication post cardiac surgery and results in elevated morbidity and mortality rates and healthcare costs. A pilot, retrospective study of the medical records of all adult patients developing AF post surgery was undertaken at the cardiac surgical unit in Durban between 2009 and 2012. We aimed to describe the local experience of AF with a view to suggesting an adapted local treatment policy in relation to previously published data. Fifty-nine patients developed AF during the study period. AF occurred predominantly three or more days post surgery. Thirty-five patients required cardioversion and amiodarone to restore sinus rhythm. Return to the general ward (RGW) was 4.6 days longer than the institutional norm. Liberal peri-operative β-blocker and statin use is currently preferred to a formal prophylaxis strategy. Randomised, controlled trials are required to evaluate measures curbing prolonged length of stay and morbidity burdens imposed by AF on the local resource-constrained environment.


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