Supraventricular arrhythmia following lung resection for non-small cell lung cancer and its treatment with amiodarone

Paola Ciriaco, Patrizio Mazzone, Barbara Canneto, Piero Zannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: From January 1998 to February 1999, 160 patients undergoing lung resection for non-small cell lung cancer were studied to define factors that increase the risk of postoperative supraventricular arrhythmia (SA) and to assess the effectiveness of amiodarone as an antiarrhythmic drug. Methods: All patients were monitored intraoperatively and postoperatively up to day 3. Onset of SA was documented with ECG. Amiodarone was administered to those who developed SA with a loading dose of 5 mg/kg in 30 min and a maintenance dose of 15 mg/kg in 24 h. Results: Mean age was 64 years (range 27-83 years). There were nine wedge resections, six segmentectomies, 127 lobectomies and 18 pneumonectomies. Twenty-two patients (13%) had SA, all of which were atrial fibrillations. The incidence of supraventricular arrhythmia with pneumonectomy and lobectomy was 33 and 12%, respectively (P = 0.02). None of the patients who had a minor resection developed SA. The peak incidence of onset of SA occurred on postoperative day 2 and lasted from 1 to 12 days (average 3.4 days). Sinus rhythm was achieved with amiodarone in 20 patients (90.9%) with no side effects. Two patients received electrical cardioversion because hemodynamically unstable. Mean preoperative pO2 and pCO2 were lower in patients with SA: pO2 80.8 vs. 85 mmHg (P = 0.04); pCO2 35.5 vs. 38 mmHg (P=0.01). Patients with concomitant cardiopulmonary diseases presented an odds ratio for postoperative arrhythmia of 12.4 (confidence interval 4.5- 34.1) (P <0.0001). Conclusion: Concomitant cardiopulmonary diseases, lower pO2, pCO2 and extent of surgery increase the risk of postoperative SA after lung resection for non-small cell lung cancer. Cardiac monitoring in patients at risk is recommended. Amiodarone was both safe and effective in establishing and maintaining sinus rhythm. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-16
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2000


  • Amiodarone
  • Lung cancer
  • Supraventricular arrhythmia
  • Thoracotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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