Internal low energy atrial cardioversion: Efficacy and safety in older patients with chronic persistent atrial fibrillation
ABSTRACT Low-energy internal atrial cardioversion is a relatively new technique based on delivery of intracardiac shocks through transvenous catheters placed into the atria or the vessels.
The aim of this study was to assess in older and younger patients with chronic persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) the efficacy and safety of transvenous low-energy internal atrial cardioversion performed without routine administration of sedatives or anesthetics.
A prospective longitudinal study.
A cardiological university hospital.
82 patients, divided into older (> or = 60 years) (n = 49) and younger (n = 33) subjects.
Atrial defibrillation threshold for internal cardioversion, measured as leading edge voltage (V) and delivered energy (J) of effective shocks, percentage of patients maintaining sinus rhythm at short-term (within 3 days) and at long-term follow-up.
Patients with chronic persistent AF, treated with oral anticoagulants for at least 3 to 4 weeks, were admitted to hospital. Following a clinical work-up, patients were subjected to low-energy internal atrial cardioversion with shock delivery according to a step-up protocol.
Internal cardioversion was effective in restoring sinus rhythm in 90% (44/49) of the older patients and in 94% (31/33) of the younger patients. Shocks were effective at a mean energy between 6 and 8 joules (range 0.9-23) and administration of sedatives or anesthetics was required during the procedure in 22% (11/49) of older and in 48% (16/33) of younger patients (P = .026 at chi-square). No major complications occurred during the procedure. Pharmacological prophylaxis of AF recurrences was instituted immediately following the procedure. During inhospital stay and during the follow-up (mean 12 +/- 9 months for older patients and 15 +/- 10 months for younger patients), AF recurred in 39% (17/44) of older patients and in 16% (5/31) of younger subjects (P = .064 at chi-square).
Internal low energy cardioversion is a very effective procedure for restoring sinus rhythm in patients with AF; it can be performed in older patients, and administration of sedatives or anesthetics can be avoided or minimized in a substantial proportion of subjects. Recurrences of AF in the long term tend to be higher in older subjects and intensive prophylaxis with antiarrhythmic drugs is required.
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ABSTRACT: This article gives an overview of electrical cardioversion of AF and includes the discussion of newer strategies. DC external cardioversion is highly effective and carries a low risk of complications. Other approaches, like transesophageal cardioversion and high energy internal cardioversion, may improve the acute success rate but do not enhance long-term maintenance of sinus rhythm compared to external cardioversion. An atrial defibrillator may have important advantages which relate to the fact that the duration and possibly also the number of AF episodes become reduced. Supposedly, shortening the attacks of AF may exert an antiarrhythmic effect by limiting electrical, anatomical, and neurohumoral remodeling. So far, low energy biatrial defibrillation using an atrial defibrillator seems to be effective and safe (i.e., does not induce ventricular arrhythmias). However, discomfort limits its tolerability in clinical practice. Future improvement of leads and light sedation that is easy to administer may overcome this problem. In the second part of this overview, the probability of AF recurrence using a serial cardioversion approach is discussed. In middle-aged patients with a fair exercise tolerance and an arrhythmia duration < than 36 months this approach may be worthwhile. Young patients (age < 57 years) with an arrhythmia duration < 3 months and without hypertension may be cured from the arrhythmia with a single shock and without the institution of antiarrhythmic drugs. However, the serial electrical cardioversion approach is unlikely to succeed in elderly patients with a duration of AF exceeding 36 months and a poor exercise tolerance (NYHA Functional Class III or IV).Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology 10/1997; 20(10 Pt 2):2675-83. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-8159.1997.tb06116.x · 1.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To review data on the type, mechanism, and prevalence of the proarrhythmic effect of drugs used to treat atrial fibrillation or flutter. English-language literature from the early 1960s to the present was identified by manual search of the literature; relevant articles were reviewed. Pertinent earlier studies were identified from references in the articles reviewed and were included when relevant. All studies, controlled and uncontrolled, as well as individual case reports that contained data convincingly linking atrial antiarrhythmic therapy to a proarrhythmic side effect were included. Key data were extracted from each article in studies in which a causal relationship between the use of a drug and a proarrhythmic response appeared likely. Antiarrhythmic therapy aimed at stabilizing the atrium may have adverse effects on the ventricle including torsade de pointes and, less commonly, sustained ventricular tachycardia. Different antiarrhythmic agents appear to have differing potentials for this proarrhythmic response, which is most common with class 1A agents. Other proarrhythmic responses to atrial antiarrhythmic agents include the acceleration of the ventricular response either by enhancing atrioventricular nodal or bypass tract conduction or by converting atrial fibrillation to flutter with 1:1 conduction. Calcium-channel blocking agents and, less commonly, digoxin may perpetuate the duration of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, and virtually all agents can cause sinus node dysfunction or atrioventricular block. Although drug therapy for atrial fibrillation or flutter is generally well tolerated, the potential exists for uncommon but serious proarrhythmic effects. Knowledge of the risk factors and symptoms of these adverse reactions will help to further reduce this risk.Annals of internal medicine 08/1992; 117(2):141-50. DOI:10.7326/0003-4819-117-2-141 · 16.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Transvenous low-energy atrial cardioversion was performed in a series of fully conscious patients (30 patients with chronic atrial fibrillation and 5 patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation). The results show that internal atrial defibrillation is effective and tolerable in most patients.The American Journal of Cardiology 02/1998; 81(2):241-4. DOI:10.1016/S0002-9149(97)00882-5 · 3.43 Impact Factor