Annals of Thoracic Surgery vol:61 issue:4 pages:1083-5; discussion 1086
BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation is a frequently occurring arrhythmia after thoracic operations. Preventive strategies for this complication have been extensively evaluated after cardiac operations. METHODS: We performed a prospective, open randomized study, comparing intravenous verapamil and placebo in 199 patients after pneumonectomy or lobectomy at the University Hospital of Leuven. Verapamil was administered as a bolus of 10 mg over 2 minutes followed by a 30-minute infusion of 0.375 mg/min and then 0.125 mg/min for 3 days. The patients were continuously monitored in the postoperative intensive care unit. RESULTS: Atrial fibrillation occurred in 15% of the patients receiving placebo and in 8% of the patients receiving verapamil (difference not significant). The verapamil infusion was interrupted in 9% of the patients because of bradycardia and in 14% because of hypotension. CONCLUSIONS: If tolerated, continuous intravenous verapamil infusion showed only a modest prophylactic efficacy for the occurrence of atrial fibrillation after lung operations. In the dose employed the verapamil infusion was accompanied with a high incidence of side effects necessitating interruption of the therapy.