In the United States, more than 600000 patients undergo cardiac surgery annually.11 Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia after cardiac surgery and is estimated to occur in 10% to 50% of all cardiac surgery patients, with a higher incidence in elderly patients and patients undergoing valve surgery.22,55 Postoperative atrial fibrillation is often well tolerated and usually resolves on its own within 6 to 8 weeks after surgery, but it does increase the risk for various complications, including thromboembolic events and ventricular arrhythmias that can compromise hemodynamic status or cause acute congestive heart failure.66 Atrial fibrillation may also precipitate postoperative myocardial ischemia and necessitate placement of a permanent pacemaker.77 Furthermore, patients who experience atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery have longer hospital stays and higher healthcare costs than...

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