Stellate Ganglion Block to Prevent Atrial Fibrillation in Cardiac Surgery Patients


About this study

The purpose of this study is to evaluate stellate ganglion blockade with local anesthetic intraoperatively to reduce the development of postoperative atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is an important postoperative complication following cardiac surgery despite many attempts to reduce the incidence. Temporary stellate ganglion blockade reduces ventricular arrythmias in various circumstances with animal and early human data also showing an effect on the development of atrial fibrillation. The duration of arrythmia control outlasts the expected duration of local anesthetic effect by a significant duration.  Stellate ganglion blockade has potential for great impact reducing the burden of POAF including large cost savings, reduction in hospital length of stay, and improvement in quality of life via reduction of large degree of morbidity. If effective, this could revolutionize cardiac surgery care.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Patient presenting for cardiac surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

- Patients scheduled to undergo mitral or aortic valve surgery with or without coronary
artery bypass grafting.

Exclusion Criteria:

- Patients with a history of permanent atrial fibrillation, left or right ventricular
assist device implantation or explantation.

- Patients with procedures not requiring cardiopulmonary bypass.

- Patients with procedures requiring deep hypothermic circulatory arrest.

- Patients with active infection or sepsis.

- Pre-operative immunosuppressive medication use (including steroid use).

- Pre-operative anti-arrhythmic medication use (aside from beta-blockers).

- Patients with Immunodeficiency syndrome.

- Patients with known neurologic disorder.

- Patients requiring left internal jugular central line placement.

- Performance of Maze procedures or left atrial appendage ligation procedures will not
exclude patients from potential enrollment as atrial fibrillation still occurs
postoperatively while the scarring from the Maze procedure forms.

Note: Other protocol defined Inclusion/Exclusion criteria may apply.

Eligibility last updated 7/27/22. Questions regarding updates should be directed to the study team contact

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Erica Wittwer, M.D., Ph.D.

Contact us for the latest status

Contact information:

Erica Wittwer M.D., Ph.D.

(507) 255-6276

More information


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