Postoperative atrial fibrillation is not pulmonary vein dependent: Results from a randomized trial

Bob Kiaii, Stephanie Fox, Lindsay Chase, Michaela Fernandes, Larry W. Stitt, Ray Guo, Mackenzie Quantz, Michael W. Chu, Pavan Koka, R. Scott McClure, F. Neil McKenzie, George J. Klein, Richard J. Novick, Allan C. Skanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Although often short-lived and self-limiting, postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is a well-recognized postoperative complication of cardiac surgery and is associated with a 2-fold increase in cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Objective Our aim was to determine whether intraoperative bilateral pulmonary vein radiofrequency ablation decreases the incidence of POAF in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Methods A total of 175 patients undergoing CABG was prospectively randomized to undergo adjuvant bilateral radiofrequency pulmonary vein ablation in addition to CABG (group A; n = 89) or CABG alone (group B; n = 86). Intraoperative pulmonary vein isolation was confirmed by the inability to pace the heart via the pulmonary veins after ablation. All patients received postoperative β-blocker. Results There was no difference in the incidence of POAF in the treatment group who underwent adjuvant pulmonary vein ablation (group A; 37.1%) compared with the control group who did not (group B; 36.1%) (P =.887). There were no differences in postoperative inotropic support, antiarrhythmic drug use, need for oral anticoagulation, and complication rates. The mean length of postoperative hospital stay was 8.2 ± 6.5 days in the ablation group and 6.7 ± 4.6 days in the control group (P <.001). Conclusion Adjuvant pulmonary vein isolation does not decrease the incidence of POAF or its clinical impact but increases the mean length of stay in the hospital. The mechanism of POAF does not appear to depend on the pulmonary veins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Bypass
  • Electrophysiology
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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