Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent arrhythmia after thoracic surgery and is associated with increased hospital costs, morbidity and mortality. In this study, we aimed to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for postoperative atrial fibrillation following lung resection surgery and to suggest possible measures to reduce risk. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 4731 patients who underwent lobectomy or more major lung resection over a 6-year period. Patients who developed atrial fibrillation postoperatively and required treatment were included in the postoperative atrial fibrillation group, while the remaining patients were assigned to the non-postoperative atrial fibrillation group. Risk factors for postoperative atrial fibrillation were analysed by multivariate analysis and propensity score matching. Overall, 12% of patients developed postoperative atrial fibrillation. Potentially modifiable risk factors for postoperative atrial fibrillation were excessive alcohol consumption (odds ratio (OR) = 1.48, 95% CI 1.08–2.02, p = 0.0140), red cell transfusion (2.70(2.13–3.43), p < 0.0001), use of inotropes (1.81(1.42–2.31), p < 0.0001) and open (vs. thoracoscopic) surgery (1.59(1.23–2.05), p < 0.0001). Compared with inotrope use, vasopressor administration was not related to postoperative atrial fibrillation. Use of steroids or thoracic epidural anaesthesia did not reduce the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation. We conclude that high alcohol consumption, red cell transfusion, use of inotropes and open surgery are potentially modifiable risk factors for postoperative atrial fibrillation. Pre-operative alcohol consumption needs to be addressed. Avoiding red cell transfusion and performing lung resection via video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery may reduce the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation and the administration of vasopressors rather than inotropes is preferred.
- atrial fibrillation
- risk factors
- thoracic surgery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine