Background. Atrial fibrillation is a common arrhythmia, after cardiac surgery. Reperfusion injury and inflammation associated with cardiac surgery are thought to be involved in its pathogenesis. We hypothesized that cytoprotective effects associated with heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) could counteract these proarrhythmic insults. We therefore set out to examine the influence of heat shock protein 70 on the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation. Methods. We prospectively recruited 80 patients undergoing elective coronary artery bypass surgery. Blood samples were collected preoperatively. Right atrial tissue was obtained at surgery. Incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation and its duration were noted. Using a nested case-control design, 15 patients who developed atrial fibrillation were matched for operative procedure, age, sex, and β-blocker usage, with 15 controls from the remaining patients. Atrial heat shock protein 70 was subsequently quantified by immunohistochemistry. Serum heat shock protein was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and high sensitivity C-reactive protein was determined by immunoturbidometric assay. Results. Intracellular HSP70 level was significantly higher in patients who did not develop atrial fibrillation (35 ± 13 vs 19 ± 15; p = 0.006). Atrial HSP70 level negatively correlated with atrial fibrillation; independent of other risk factors (odds ratio = 0.90; 95% confidence interval 0.84 to 0.99, p = 0.02). Serum HSP70 levels were similar in both groups (p = 0.81) and did not correlate with intracellular levels (p = 0.38). Preoperative C-reactive protein levels were similar in both groups (p = 0.93). Conclusions. Intracellular, but not serum, HSP70 level is negatively correlated with postoperative atrial fibrillation. This suggests a cardioprotective and an antiarrhythmic role for intracellular HSP70.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine