J Korean Soc Traumatol.  2008 Dec;21(2):85-90.

Supraventricular Arrhythmias in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit

  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. skhong94@amc.seoul.kr


PURPOSE: Supraventricular arrhythmia is a well-known complication of cardiothoracic surgery, and is common in patients wirth underlying cardiovascular disease. Also, it's treatment and prognosis are well known. However the incidence, the contributing factors, and the prognosis for supraventricular arrhythmias in noncardiothoracic surgical patients are less well known. This study was undertaken to investigate the incidence, the clinical presentation, the prognosis, and the factors comtributing to the prognosis for supraventricular arrhythmia in the surgical intensive care unit.
We performed a retrospective study of 34 patients with newly developed or aggravated supraventricular arrhythmias in the surgical intensive care unit between March 2004 and February 2005. The incidence, the risk factors, and the prognosis of supraventricular arrhythmias were analyzed.
During a 12month period, the incidence of supraventricular arrhythmia was 1.79% (34/1896). Most patients had pre-existing cardiovascular disease and sepsis. The mortality rate was 29.4%, and the most common cause of death was multiple organ failure due to septic shock. The mean value of the APACHE II score was 20.9, and the surgical intensive care unit and the hospital lengths of stay were 9.9 days and 25.8 days, respectively. The APACHE II score measured when the arrhythmia developed was a significant factor in predicting mortality,
Supraventricular arrhythmias result in increased mortality and increased length of stay in both the surgical intensive care unit and the hospital. The arrhythmia itself did not cause death, but a high APACHE II score incicated a poor prognosis. This may reflect the severity of the illness rather than an independent contributor to mortality.


Supraventricular arrhythmia; Atrial fibrillation; Surgical intensive care unit; Sepsis

MeSH Terms

Arrhythmias, Cardiac
Atrial Fibrillation
Cardiovascular Diseases
Cause of Death
Critical Care
Length of Stay
Multiple Organ Failure
Retrospective Studies
Risk Factors
Shock, Septic
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