The belief that postoperative atrial fibrillation (PAF) results from transient autonomic dysfunction suggests that interventions such as clinical hypnosis may reduce the incidence of PAF. To explore this hypothesis, we retrospectively compared outcomes between two groups of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery: 50 consecutive patients who received preoperative hypnoidal explanation of the surgical procedure and 50 case-matched historical controls who received no clinical hypnosis. The patients who received hypnosis were significantly less likely to experience an episode of PAF (P = .003) and showed nonsignificant trends toward superior outcomes in terms of length of stay, narcotic use, and total hospital charges. Our findings indicate that prospective randomized trials are warranted to further delineate the potential benefit of clinical hypnosis for prevention of PAF.
Cleve Clin J Med. 2008 Mar;75 Suppl 2:S44-7. Novoa R, Hammonds T. Aultman Heart Center, Aultman Health Foundation, Canton, OH 44714, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org