Rate Control vs. Rhythm Control for Atrial Fibrillation after Cardiac Surgery

Atrial fibrillation continues to plague intensivists managing post-cardiac surgery patients. Large clinical trials in non-surgical populations have demonstrated that rhythm control offers no benefits over a simpler rate control strategy. However, it is unclear if these findings can be extrapolated to the post-cardiac surgical population. As such, Gillinov et al conducted a randomized controlled trial hoping to answer this very question.

They found that strategies for rate control and rhythm control to treat post-operative atrial fibrillation were associated with equal numbers of days of hospitalization, similar complication rates and similarly low rates of persistent atrial fibrillation 60 days after onset.

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