The role of posterior pericardiotomy on the incidence of atrial fibrillation after coronary revascularization
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Aim. Pericardial effusion and atrial fibrillation (AF) are two common complications in coronary revascularization surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of posterior pericardiotomy in pericardial. effusion and AF. Methods. This randomized prospective study includes 113 patients who underwent isolated CABG procedure between May 2000 and December 2000 in our hospital. Posterior pericardiotomy incision was done in Group I (n=54). Group II constituted the control group (n=59). Postoperative pericardial. effusion was assessed by echocardiography and rhythm follow-up was done by the same cardiologist. Results. There was no significant difference between study group and the control group considering the chest drainage (940.18 +/- 367.96 vs 894.92 +/- 360.65P=0.507). The number of patients with remarkable intrapericardial effusion (>50 ml) was significantly lower in the posterior pericardiotomy group (25-93% vs 47.45% p=0.020). The incidence of postoperative AF was no different between the posterior pericardiotomy group and the control group (12.96% vs 20-34%P=0.32). in both groups the incidence of AF was significantly higher in patients with mild or moderate pericardial effusion (29%) compared to patients with no or minimal pericardial effusion (10%) (p=0.017). Conclusion. Posterior pericardiotomy significantly reduces the pericardial effusion in coronary bypass procedure postoperatively. Patients with pericardial. effusion were subjected to AF more frequently.