When atrial fibrillation is converted to normal sinus rhythm following the surgical repair of mitral valve disease, the normal pattern is more likely to persist if the preoperative diagnosis is mitral stenosis, atrial fibrillation has been established for less than 3 years, and results of the operation are excellent. To determine the specific reasons for recurrence of fibrillation, however, and to devise ways of preventing these recurrences will require further investigation of both pathogenic mechanism and therapeutic agents.
In 55 patients with mitral valve disease and atrial fibrillation operated upon at The University of Michigan Medical Center from 1963 to 1966, normal sinus rhythm was established after operation in 43 but maintained in only 20. Most recurrences of atrial fibrillation appeared during the first 3 months after the heart operation. The time lapse between operation and cardioversion did not affect the conversion rate or maintenance. Cardioversion was more often successful after valvuloplasty than after valve replacement, but the maintenance rate was the same.
- © 1967 American Heart Association, Inc.