Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation

Coronary Artery By-pass Graft (CABG)
Valve Repair
Valve Replacement

Postoperative Surgical Recovery

or ICU

  • Postoperative or paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) occurs after surgery while the patient is in recovery or ICU
  • Persistent postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) may require additional staff to adequately treat the arrhythmia.
  • Ablation and/or a pacemaker for more persistent AF

Atrial Fibrillation – Most Common Arrhythmia

  • Affects the upper chambers of the heart (atria)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chaotic, irregular quivering of the atria
  • Heart pumps blood poorly
  • Pooling may form a clot

Clinical Risk

  • While acute atrial fibrillation (AF) may sometimes be clinically silent, it’s not benign!
  • Postoperative (POAF) atrial fibrillation in the acute setting may transition to persistent or permanent (chronic) AF and result in debilitating symptoms
  • If left untreated, POAF can increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, ventricular arrhythmias, and mortality
  • AF is associated with a five-fold risk of stroke
  • POAF is a “must treat” medical situation!


  • Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is the most common complication from cardiovascular surgery, occurring in up to 60% of patients
  • There are no diagnostic tools to identify which patients will experience POAF