Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. It has been shown that prophylactic oral beta-blocker administration reduces the incidence of post-CABG AF. However, the optimal beta-blocker has not been identified.
Objective: This study sought to determine whether oral carvedilol (with its unique anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties) is more effective than oral metoprolol for prevention of AF after CABG surgery.
Methods: Between April 2006 and December 2006, 120 patients (63 men, mean age 61 +/- 9.4 years) who were scheduled to undergo their first on-pump CABG were enrolled in this study. The patients were randomized in a prospective 1:1 manner to receive either oral carvedilol (n = 60) or oral metoprolol (n = 60). The end point of the study was the occurrence of the new-onset AF during the first 5 days after CABG.
Results: AF occurred in 29 of 120 patients (24.0%). The incidence of postoperative AF was 15.0% (9 of 60) in the carvedilol group and 33% (20 of 60) in the metoprolol group (P = .022). The carvedilol group was treated with mean daily dose of 46 +/- 9 mg and metoprolol group with mean daily dose of 93 +/- 11 mg. There were no differences between the study groups regarding any known preoperative, perioperative, or postoperative characteristics (all values were P >.05). No significant adverse effect was observed in either group.
Conclusion: This prospective study suggested that oral carvedilol is more effective than oral metoprolol in the prevention of AF after on-pump CABG. It is well tolerated when started before and continued after the surgery. However, further prospective studies are needed to clarify this issue.