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Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Oncology - Surgery

Atrial Fibrillation and Delayed Gastric Emptying
Published: Thursday, October 20, 2011
Author: Isadora C. Botwinick et al.

by Isadora C. Botwinick, R. Joseph Shonkwiler, John Steele, Gary Yu, John A. Chabot


Atrial fibrillation and delayed gastric emptying (DGE) are common after pancreaticoduodenectomy. Our aim was to investigate a potential relationship between atrial fibrillation and DGE, which we defined as failure to tolerate a regular diet by the 7th postoperative day.


We performed a retrospective chart review of 249 patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy at our institution between 2000 and 2009. Data was analyzed with Fisher exact test for categorical variables and Mann-Whitney U or unpaired T-test for continuous variables.


Approximately 5% of the 249 patients included in the analysis experienced at least one episode of postoperative atrial fibrillation. Median age of patients with atrial fibrillation was 74 years, compared with 66 years in patients without atrial fibrillation (p?=?0.0005). Patients with atrial fibrillation were more likely to have a history of atrial fibrillation (p?=?0.03). 92% of the patients with atrial fibrillation suffered from DGE, compared to 46% of patients without atrial fibrillation (p?=?0.0007). This association held true when controlling for age.


Patients with postoperative atrial fibrillation are more likely to experience delayed gastric emptying. Interventions to manage delayed gastric function might be prudent in patients at high risk for postoperative atrial fibrillation.