Arrhythmias are a known complication after cardiac surgery and represent a major cause of morbidity, increased length of hospital stay, and economic costs. However, little is known about incidence, risk factors, and treatment of early postoperative arrhythmias. Both tachyarrhythmias and bradyarrhythmias can present in the postoperative period. In this setting, atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Postoperative atrial fibrillation is often self-limiting, but it may require anticoagulation therapy and either a rate or rhythm control strategy. However, ventricular arrhythmias and conduction disturbances can also occur. Sustained ventricular arrhythmias in the recovery period after cardiac surgery may warrant acute treatment and long-term preventive strategy in the absence of reversible causes. Transient bradyarrhythmias may be managed with temporary pacing wires placed at surgery, but significant and persistent atrioventricular block or sinus node dysfunction can occur with the need for permanent pacing. We provide a complete and updated review about mechanisms, risk factors, and treatment strategies for the main postoperative arrhythmias.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine