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June 1957

Atrial Fibrillation Following Mitral Valvulotomy: A Study of Its Clinical Characteristics and Predisposing Factors

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;99(6):896-904. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260060054005

The commonest postoperative complication following mitral valve surgery in patients with a normal sinus rhythm is the occurrence of atrial fibrillation. This may appear in 24% to 38% of all such patients. Although in a majority of cases sinus rhythm may be reestablished either spontaneously or with the aid of quinidine, a small percentage of patients will continue to fibrillate permanently following surgery. Because of the increasing application of surgery to acquired heart disease, this iatrogenic arrhythmia deserves systematic study. In addition, an examination of its characteristics may add to our knowledge of the genesis of this common disorder of cardiac rhythm. For these reasons, the records of 144 patients subjected to mitral valvulotomy were reviewed in order to examine the following features of postoperative atrial fibrillation:

  1. Clinical characteristics.

  2. Predisposing factors.

  3. Effect of digitalis and quinidine.

Material  During the period from Nov. 1, 1950 to March 1, 1956, a total

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