top of page

Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation

"The Big Little Problem"



Coronary Artery By-pass Graft (CABG)
Valve Repair
Valve Replacement 


Postoperative Surgical Recovery

or ICU

  • Postoperative or paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) occurs after surgery while the patient is in recovery or ICU

  • Persistent postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) may require additional staff to adequately treat the arrhythmia.

  • Ablation and/or a pacemaker for more persistent AF

Atrial Fibrillation – Most Common Arrhythmia

  • Affects the upper chambers of the heart (atria

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Chaotic, irregular quivering of the atria

  • Heart pumps blood poorly

  • Pooling may form a clot

Clinical Risk

  • While acute atrial fibrillation (AF) may sometimes be clinically silent, it’s not benign!

  • Postoperative (POAF) atrial fibrillation in the acute setting may transition to persistent or permanent (chronic) AF and result in debilitating symptoms

  • If left untreated, POAF can increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, ventricular arrhythmias, and mortality

  • AF is associated with a five-fold risk of stroke

  • POAF is a “must treat” medical situation!


  • Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is the most common complication from cardiovascular surgery, occurring in up to 40-60% of patients

  • There are no diagnostic tools to identify which patients will experience POAF

POAF Stakeholders

  • Patients

  • Providers: Hospitals (Institutions) and Physicians (CVS Surgeons, Critical Care Teams, Perioperative Specialist
  • Payers (Government and Commercial Insurers)
bottom of page