Ventral cardiac denervation reduces the incidence of atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass grafting

João Q. Melo, Peter Voigt, Bingur Sonmez, Manuel Ferreira, Miguel Abecasis, Maria Rebocho, Ana Timóteo, Carlos Aguiar, Selim Tansal, Harun Arbatli, Robert Dion, R. Damiano, H. Schaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objectives: Because the autonomic nervous system is an important determinant in the appearance of atrial fibrillation, we have assessed the role of ventral cardiac denervation for its prevention. Methods: Patients undergoing low-risk coronary artery surgery were enrolled. No routine antiarrhythmic drugs were administered before or after the operation. Ventral cardiac denervation was performed in 207 patients, and 219 patients were used as control subjects. Denervation was performed before cardiopulmonary bypass. The groups were comparable regarding demographic, clinical, and operative variables. Results: The additional time for the denervation was 5 ± 2 minutes, and there were no associated complications. Postoperative atrial fibrillation was present in 15 (7%) patients undergoing ventral cardiac denervation (95% confidence interval, 4%-12%) and in 56 (27%) control subjects (95% confidence interval, 18%-35%). Patients submitted to ventral cardiac denervation had fewer and less severe episodes of atrial fibrillation, and no patient had atrial fibrillation after discharge. Ventral cardiac denervation was the most significant predictor of postoperative atrial fibrillation (odds ratio, 0.42; confidence interval, 0.23-0.78; P = .006). Age of greater than 65 years (odds ratio, 1.67; confidence interval, 0.96-2.9; P = .067) was a highly suggestive predictor. The analysis of the effect of ventral cardiac denervation correlated with the patient's age showed a more pronounced effect in patients younger than 70 years (odds ratio, 0.43; confidence interval, 0.22-0.86; P = .022) Conclusions: Ventral cardiac denervation is a fast and low-risk procedure. Its use significantly reduces the incidence and severity of atrial fibrillation after routine coronary artery bypass surgery. Patients younger than 70 years of age are expected to have a higher success rate than those older than 70 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-516
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


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