Surgical outcomes associated with postoperative atrial fibrillation after robotic-assisted pulmonary lobectomy: retrospective review of 208 consecutive cases

J Thorac Dis. 2016 Aug;8(8):2079-85. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2016.07.68.


Background: In this study, we sought to investigate the effect of post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF) after robotic-assisted video-thoracoscopic pulmonary lobectomy on comorbid postoperative complications, chest tube duration, and hospital length of stay (LOS).

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed prospectively collected data from 208 consecutive patients who underwent robotic-assisted pulmonary lobectomy by one surgeon for known or suspected lung cancer. Postoperatively, 39 (18.8%) of these patients experienced POAF during their hospital stay. The occurrence of postoperative complications other than POAF, chest tube duration, and hospital LOS were analyzed in patients with POAF and without POAF. Statistical significance (P≤0.05) was determined by unpaired Student's t-test or by Chi-square test.

Results: Of patients with POAF, 46% also had other concurrent postoperative complications, while only 31% of patients without POAF experienced complications. The average number of postoperative complications experienced by patients with POAF was significantly higher than that experienced by those without POAF (0.9 vs. 0.4, P<0.05). Median chest tube duration in POAF patients (6 days) was significantly higher than in patients without POAF (4 days). A similar result was also seen with hospital LOS, with the median hospital LOS of 8 days in POAF patients being significantly longer than in those without POAF, whose median hospital LOS was 4 days. No other significant difference was detected between the two groups of patients.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated the association between the incidence of POAF and a more complicated hospital course. Further studies are needed to determine whether confounders were involved in this association.

Keywords: Outcomes; atrial fibrillation; lobectomy; lung cancer; robotic.