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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common complication after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Several prospective randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have evaluated the effect of intact and removed anterior fat pads on the incidence of AF after CABG with conflicting results. We collected these RCTs and conducted a meta-analysis to determine whether anterior fat pad removal is effective in preventing the new onset of AF after CABG.Prospective RCTs were collected for analysis and the main outcomes include the occurrence of AF after CABG, total hospital stay, and major complications. Statistical analysis was conducted using RevMan 5.0.18 software (The Cochrane Collaboration), and pooled estimates of the effect were reported as risk ratios (RRs) or mean differences (MDs) with their 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The results of this meta-analysis indicate that anterior fat pad removal was not associated with a decreased risk of occurrence of AF after CABG (RR = 1.34, 95% CI: 0.88–2.03; P = 0.18), and it also did not increase the risk of major complications (RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.75–1.47; P = 0.79) or lengthen total hospital stay (MD = 0.06, 95% CI: −0.46 to 0.58; P = 0.83) compared with the control group.Anterior fat pad removal did not decrease the risk of the occurrence of AF after CABG despite its safety and convenience, and it should not be used to prevent new-onset AF after CABG unless new evidence is provided.