Atrial fibrillation the sudden contraction of the heart is common after coronary bypass surgery, researchers have discovered.

Researchers from Yale University, Connecticut, found that 27 per cent of bypass patients suffered atrial fibrillation (AFIB), which meant they spent an extra 13 hours in intensive care and two days in hospital.

They made the discovery after studying the records of 2,417 bypass patients at 24 hospitals around the US. They found that some surgical practices increased the risk of AFIB, and have called for trials to discover if modifications of current techniques would reduce the risks.

!AJAMA, 1996; 276: 300-6.

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