(HealthDay News) — For patients undergoing cardiac surgery, perioperative colchicine is associated with a reduction in postpericardiotomy syndrome, according to a study published online August 30 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was published to coincide with the annual European Society of Cardiology Congress, held from August 30 to September 3 in Barcelona, Spain.

Massimo Imazio, MD, from the Maria Vittoria Hospital in Torino, Italy, and colleagues examined the efficacy and safety of perioperative colchicine in reducing postpericardiotomy syndrome, postoperative atrial fibrillation (AF), and postoperative pericardial or pleural effusions. Three hundred sixty consecutive candidates for cardiac surgery, enrolled in 11 centers, were randomized to placebo or colchicine between 48–72 hours before surgery and until one month after surgery.

The researchers found that 19.4% of patients assigned to colchicine and 29.4% assigned to placebo met the primary end point of postpericardiotomy syndrome. No significant between-group differences were seen for the secondary end points of postoperative AF or postoperative pericardial/pleural effusion. In the prespecified on-treatment analysis there was a reduction in postoperative AF (placebo, 41.2%; colchicine, 27.0%). Adverse events occurred more frequently in the colchicine versus the placebo group (20.0 vs. 11.7%).

“Among patients undergoing cardiac surgery, perioperative use of colchicine compared with placebo reduced the incidence of postpericardiotomy syndrome but not of postoperative AF or postoperative pericardial/pleural effusion,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. FARGIM provided funding to support insurance costs for the trial.

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