Postoperative atrial fibrillation in non-cardiac and cardiac surgery: an overview

J Thromb Haemost. 2015 Jun:13 Suppl 1:S304-12. doi: 10.1111/jth.12974.


Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is the most common perioperative cardiac arrhythmia. A major risk factor for POAF is advanced age, both in non-cardiac and cardiac surgery. Following non-cardiac surgery, it is important to correct reversible conditions such as electrolytes imbalances to prevent the occurrence of POAF. Management of POAF consists of rate control and therapeutic anticoagulation if POAF persists for > 48 h and CHADS2 score > 2. After cardiac surgery, POAF affects a larger amount of patients. In addition to age, valve surgery carries the greatest risk for new AF. Rate control is the mainstay therapy in these patients. Prediction, prevention, and management of POAF should be further studied.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; cardiac surgery; general surgery; postoperative period; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / blood
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / prevention & control
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Anticoagulants