Thousands of Americans every year develop an abnormal heart rhythm after having major surgery. These episodes have long been considered a fleeting phenomenon that is generally not a cause for concern.
But a large new study suggests that doctors should take these abnormal heart rhythms, known as atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, more seriously. It found that patients who experienced one or more episodes after surgery had a striking increase in their risk of having a future stroke. The findings are likely to encourage doctors to potentially monitor and in some cases treat the patients who experience them.
“This is telling us that once you see atrial fibrillation in the hospital, that’s a marker of potential trouble to come,” said Dr. Donald Easton, a clinical professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco medical school.
Read more at A New Surgery Risk – NYTimes.com.