Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) associated with postoperative pericardial effusion is the most commonly reported adverse event after cardiac surgery.
Aims: We aimed to determine the role of posterior pericardiotomy in preventing postoperative AF (POAF).
Methods: We searched PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Ovid, and EBSCO from inception until 30 June 2022. We included randomised clinical trials (RCTs) that compared posterior pericardiotomy (PP) versus control (no PP) in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. The primary endpoint was the incidence of POAF after cardiac surgery. The secondary endpoints were supraventricular arrhythmias, early/late pericardial effusion, pericardial tamponade, pleural effusion, length of hospital/intensive care unit stay, intra-aortic balloon pump use, revision surgery for bleeding, and mortality.
Results: Twenty-five RCTs comprising 4,467 patients were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. The overall incidence rate of POAF was 11.7% in the PP group compared with 23.67% in the no PP or control group, with a significant decrease in the risk of POAF following PP (odds ratio [OR] 0.49, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.38-0.61). Compared with the control group, the risk of supraventricular tachycardia (OR 0.66, 95% CI: 0.43-0.89), early pericardial effusion (OR 0.32, 95% CI: 0.22-0.46), late pericardial effusion (OR 0.15, 95% CI: 0.09-0.25), and pericardiac tamponade (OR 0.18, 95% CI: 0.10-0.33) were lower in the PP group.
Conclusions: PP is an effective intervention for reducing the risk of POAF after cardiac surgery. Also, PP is economically efficient in terms of decreasing the length of hospital stay.
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