Friday, December 30, 2005

Medication Reduces Risk Of Heart Irregularities After Cardiac Surgery

Use of the medication amiodarone is associated with one-half the incidence of atrial tachyarrhythmias (rapid, abnormal heart beat) following cardiac surgery, according to a study.

The consequences of these atrial tachyarrhythmias include discomfort or anxiety, stroke, exposure to the risks of tachyarrhythmia treatments, prolongation of hospital stay, and increased health care costs.

"The PAPABEAR trial demonstrates that a 13-day perioperative course of oral amiodarone is an effective, possibly safe, well-tolerated, and widely applicable therapy for the prevention of postoperative atrial tachyarrhythmia after cardiac surgery."

Atrial fibrillation is a commonly encountered arrhythmia following cardiac surgery that is associated with increased morbidity, mortality and longer hospital stays. Since an estimated one in three bypass patients will suffer at least one episode of atrial fibrillation in the days and weeks following surgery, this new study, which does differ from older studies, may offer an opportunity to decrease this post-operative complication.

If you are scheduled for surgery, have your questions ready for your doctor, including a question about complications. Atrial fibrillation will most assuredly be mentioned and you can then ask about medications to reduce the risk.

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