Postoperative AF (atrial fibrillation) is a common and important complication of cardiac surgery which increases the length of hospital stay and morbidity. Pericarditis may be a contributory factor in the genesis of postoperative AF, though other factors are also involved. Hence colchicine, an anti inflammatory drug which has been shown to be safe and effective in prevention of postoperative pericarditis and postpericardiotomy syndrome was studied for its potential role in preventing postoperative AF . The study involved three hundred and thirty six patients and was a multi centric double blind randomized trial. Colchicine was started on postoperative day 3 and maintenance dose was given for 1 month. Primary endpoint of the substudy was the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation over the one month period. Baseline characteristics were well balanced.
The investigators noted a reduced incidence of postoperative AF in the colchicine group (12.0% versus 22.0%;P=0.021), with a reduced hospital stay.