Preventive Effect of Berberine on Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2022 Oct;15(10):e011160. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.122.011160. Epub 2022 Sep 30.


Background: Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is one of the most common complications of cardiac surgery, but the underlying factors governing POAF are not well understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of berberine administration on POAF.

Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with patients who underwent isolated coronary artery bypass grafting in China to study the impact of oral berberine on the incidence of POAF. A total of 200 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting were randomized into the berberine group (n=100) and the placebo group (n=100). All patients underwent 7-day continuous telemetry and Holter monitoring.

Results: The primary outcome was the incidence of POAF at 7 days. Secondary outcomes included clinical outcomes, POAF burden, intestinal endotoxin, and serum inflammatory biomarker levels. The POAF incidence was reduced from 35% to 20% under berberine treatment (hazard ratio, 0.5 [95% CI, 0.29-0.78]; P=0.0143). Perioperative mortality and morbidity did not differ between the 2 groups. POAF burden and the dose of amiodarone were significantly reduced in the berberine group. Oral berberine significantly decreased lipopolysaccharide, CRP (C-reactive protein), and IL (interleukin)-6 levels. Elevated lipopolysaccharide after surgery has been associated with POAF.

Conclusions: Our results showed that administration of berberine may be effective for reducing the occurrence of POAF after coronary artery bypass grafting.

Registration: URL:; Unique identifier: ChiCTR2000028839.

Keywords: C-reactive protein; atrial fibrillation; berberine; coronary artery bypass; interleukin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amiodarone*
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / etiology
  • Berberine* / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Humans
  • Interleukins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors


  • Berberine
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Amiodarone
  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukins