Experimental Animal Models of Atrial Arrhythmias and Their Relevance to Post-Operative Atrial Arrhythmias that Occur in Humans Unergoing Cardiac Surgery

  • Gregory K. Feld
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 222)


Atrial arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation (AFIB), atrial flutter (AFL) and atrial tachycardia (AT) are relatively common following cardiac surgery [1-2]. Patients undergoing cardiac surgery may be particularly prone to develop atrial arrhythmias for a variety of reasons, including the type of surgery performed, the presence of underlying heart disease and other associated medical conditions such as hypertension, hemodynamic instability or congestive heart failure, pulmonary insufficiency, associated pericardial inflammation, and the increased sympathetic and vagal nervous system activity that accompanies such surgery [1-2]. Post-operative atrial arrhythmias may cause significant symptoms including palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain and even syncope due to the hemodynamic instability that often exists in this setting. If associated with a rapid ventricular response, post-operative atrial arrhythmias may cause ischemia or congestive heart failure, and in the case of atrial fibrillation thromboembolic stroke may even occur. The treatment, and perhaps more importantly the prevention of atrial arrhythmias following cardiac surgery is therefore critical. Fortunately, through extensive experimental and clinical studies significant progress has been made towards delineating the mechanisms and possible treatments for most atrial arrhythmias, including those that occur in the post-operative period following cardiac surgery.


Atrial Fibrillation Antiarrhythmic Drug Atrial Flutter Atrial Tachycardia Atrial Arrhythmia 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory K. Feld
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan Diego

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