Ablation trumps meds for atrial fibrillation treatment. Catheter ablation provides better long-term relief from atrial fibrillation than medication, but surgical ablation is best, a second study concludes.
Antiarrhythmic agents have modest efficacy in preventing atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence. Although retrospective analyses have suggested a preventive effect of inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) on AF development in patients with congestive heart failure or hypertension, the value of these agents has not been evaluated in patients with AF but without a high prevalence of hypertension or heart failure.
A retrospective analysis of the Canadian Trial of Atrial Fibrillation (CTAF) was conducted. CTAF demonstrated the superiority of amiodarone (A) over sotalol or propafenone (SP) in maintaining sinus rhythm in patients with AF. Of the 403 patients randomly assigned in CTAF, 11.7% of the A group and 12.7% of the SP group were receiving a RAS inhibitor at baseline. By multivariate analysis (including all the risk factors known to be associated with AF available in the database), the use of RAS blockers in addition to antiarrhythmic agents was not associated with additional benefit against AF development. There was a recurrence of AF in 59 patients (38.3%) and 14 patients (29.8%) of groups A and A-RAS, respectively, while 93 patients (61.6%) and 32 patients (62.8%) of the SP and SP-RAS groups, respectively, experienced recurrent AF.
Blocking the RAS did not provide additional benefit against AF recurrence in CTAF patients treated with an antiarrhythmic drug. These results underscore the need for randomized clinical trials to clearly define the role of RAS inhibitors in treating AF.
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BACKGROUND: Expectations that reestablishing and maintaining sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation might improve survival were disproved in the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-up Investigation of Rhythm Management (AFFIRM) study. This report describes the cause-specific modes of death in the AFFIRM treatment groups. METHODS AND RESULTS: All deaths in patients enrolled in AFFIRM underwent blinded review by the AFFIRM Events Committee, and a mode of death was assigned. In AFFIRM, 2033 patients were randomized to a rhythm-control strategy and 2027 patients to a rate-control strategy. During a mean follow-up of 3.5 years, there were 356 deaths in the rhythm-control patients and 310 deaths in the rate-control patients (P=0.07). In the rhythm-control group, 129 patients (9%) died of a cardiac cause, and in the rate-control group, 130 patients (10%) died (P=0.95). Both groups had similar rates of arrhythmic and nonarrhythmic cardiac deaths. The numbers of vascular deaths were similar in the 2 groups: 35 (3%) in the rhythm-control group and 37 (3%) in the rate-control group (P=0.82). There were no differences in the rates of ischemic stroke and central nervous system hemorrhage. In the rhythm-control group, there were 169 noncardiovascular deaths (47.5% of the total number of deaths), whereas in the rate-control arm, there were 113 noncardiovascular deaths (36.5% of the total number of deaths) (P=0.0008). Differences in noncardiovascular death rates were due to pulmonary and cancer-related deaths. CONCLUSIONS: Management of atrial fibrillation with a rhythm-control strategy conferred no advantage over a rate-control strategy in cardiac or vascular mortality and may be associated with an increased noncardiovascular death rate.
This study was conducted to determine if there is practice variation for emergency physicians' (EPs) management of recent-onset atrial fibrillation (RAF) in various world regions (Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and Australasia).
The authors completed a mail and e-mail survey of members from four national emergency medicine (EM) associations. One prenotification letter and three survey letters were sent to members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP; Canada-1,177 members surveyed), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP; United States-500), College of Emergency Medicine UK (CEM; United Kingdom-1,864), and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM; Australasia-1,188) as per the modified Dillman technique. The survey contained 23 questions related to the management of adult patients with symptomatic RAF (either a first episode or paroxysmal-recurrent) where onset is less than 48 hours and cardioversion is considered a treatment option. Data were analyzed using descriptive and chi-square statistics.
Response rates were as follows: overall, 40.5%; Canada, 43.0%; United States, 50.1%; United Kingdom, 38.1%; and Australasia, 38.0%. Physician demographics were as follows: 72% male and mean (?SD) age 41.7 (?8.39) years. The proportions of physicians attempting rate control as their initial strategy are United States, 94.0%; Canada, 70.7%; Australasia, 61.1%; and United Kingdom, 43.1% (p
It was shown that the agonist of peripheral ORL1 receptors nociceptine raises heart resistance to the antiarrhythmic effect of aconitine. The antiarrhythmic effect of nociceptine is not connected with a change in the tonus of the autonomous nervous system or with an effect on opiate receptors. It is assumed that the antiarrhythmic properties of nociceptine are realized through inhibition of Na+/Ca2+ metabolism or blockade of rapid Na(+) channels of the cardiomyocytes.
Antiarrhythmic activity of n-tyrosol was demonstrated on the model of early occlusion and reperfusion arrhythmia. The preparation reduces the incidence of ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation, increases the percent of animals without ventricular arrhythmia, and moderates the severity of developing ventricular arrhythmias.
To examine the risk of death associated with antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) therapy in a nationwide unselected cohort of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).
All patients admitted with AF in Denmark from 1995 to 2004 and their subsequent use of AADs were identified by individual-level linkage of nationwide registries. Multivariable Cox proportional-hazard models with time-dependent covariates were used to analyse the risk of death associated with AAD therapy. A total of 141,500 patients were included in the study; of these 3356 (2.4%) patients received treatment with flecainide, 3745 (2.6%) propafenone, 23,346 (16.5%) sotalol, and 10,376 (7.3%) amiodarone. Annualized mortality rates were 2.54, 4.25, 5.29, and 7.42 per year per 100 person years for flecainide, propafenone, sotalol, and amiodarone, respectively. Multivariable Cox proportional-hazard models did not show increased risk of death associated with any of the AADs. Hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for flecainide 0.38 (0.32-0.44), propafenone 0.65 (0.58-0.71), sotalol 0.65 (0.63-0.67), and amiodarone 0.94 (0.89-1.00).
In an unselected cohort of patients with AF, antiarrhythmic treatment with flecainide, propafenone, sotalol, or amiodarone was not associated with increased risk of death. From a safety perspective, this indicates appropriate selection of patients for AAD therapy.
The pharmacologic management of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia, has been traditionally dichotomized into control of ventricular rate or re-establishment and maintenance of sinus rhythm.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of rate-controlling drugs and antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD) in the Canadian Registry of Atrial Fibrillation (CARAF) over a 16-year period from 1991 through 2007.
1,400 patients with new-onset paroxysmal AF who were enrolled in CARAF were included in this analysis. We assessed trends in ventricular rate-controlling medication use (digoxin, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers) and AAD (class IA, IC, and III antiarrhythmic agents) at baseline and follow-up visits as well as by calendar year.
AAD use increased initially from 1991 to 1994 (peak use 42.5%) before steadily declining. Sotalol use decreased (27% to 6%), whereas amiodarone use increased (1.6% to 17.9%). Rate-controlling medication use decreased from 1991 to 1995 (54.1% to 34.1%) due to declining digoxin use (62.9% to 16.3%). After 1999, there was a continued increase in rate-controlling medication use (peak use 52.5% in 2007) due to increased beta-blocker use (17% to 45.7%). Calcium channel blockers use changed little over the duration of the study.
The management of AF has undergone significant shifts since 1990, reflecting the influence of drug development, prevailing belief systems, the impact of large clinical trials, and evidence-based recommendations. Monitoring of pharmacotherapy trends will provide insight into the real-world application of evidence-based guidelines as well as allow the opportunity to identify deficiencies and improve patient care.