Background: Post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is a major and
frequent complication occurring after cardiac surgery, contributing to prolonged intensive
care and hospital stays and is associated with several cardiovascular complications.
The exact mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in the development of POAF
seem to be multifactorial and remain to date incompletely understood. β-blockers and
amiodarone are the first line preventive drugs but are partially effective and near 30%
of POAF resist to these strategies.
Objective and Method: In this work, we review the current knowledge about pathophysiological
POAF mechanisms and preventive pharmacological strategies. We also
discuss the rational for the use of pre-operative plasma aldosterone and galectin-3
(Gal-3) levels as predictive biomarkers of POAF and the potential role of aldosterone antagonists in the
POAF preventive strategy.
Conclusion: POAF is a major complication occurring after cardiac surgery. In this context, there is some
evidence indicating that renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system and Gal-3 could be very useful predictive
biomarkers of POAF and potentially interesting therapeutic target to prevent POAF occurrence. We
present the rationale and the design of the ALDO-POAF trial (ALDOsterone for prediction of Post-
Operative Atrial Fibrillation, NCT 02814903).