Rhythm control versus rate control for atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
ABSTRACT It is common practice to restore and maintain sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure. This approach is based in part on data indicating that atrial fibrillation is a predictor of death in patients with heart failure and suggesting that the suppression of atrial fibrillation may favorably affect the outcome. However, the benefits and risks of this approach have not been adequately studied.
We conducted a multicenter, randomized trial comparing the maintenance of sinus rhythm (rhythm control) with control of the ventricular rate (rate control) in patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less, symptoms of congestive heart failure, and a history of atrial fibrillation. The primary outcome was the time to death from cardiovascular causes.
A total of 1376 patients were enrolled (682 in the rhythm-control group and 694 in the rate-control group) and were followed for a mean of 37 months. Of these patients, 182 (27%) in the rhythm-control group died from cardiovascular causes, as compared with 175 (25%) in the rate-control group (hazard ratio in the rhythm-control group, 1.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.30; P=0.59 by the log-rank test). Secondary outcomes were similar in the two groups, including death from any cause (32% in the rhythm-control group and 33% in the rate-control group), stroke (3% and 4%, respectively), worsening heart failure (28% and 31%), and the composite of death from cardiovascular causes, stroke, or worsening heart failure (43% and 46%). There were also no significant differences favoring either strategy in any predefined subgroup.
In patients with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure, a routine strategy of rhythm control does not reduce the rate of death from cardiovascular causes, as compared with a rate-control strategy. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00597077.)
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ABSTRACT: We attempted to determine whether changes in heart failure therapy since 1989 have altered the prognostic significance of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation occurs in 15% to 30% of patients with heart failure. Despite the recognized potential for adverse effects, the impact of atrial fibrillation on prognosis is controversial. Two-year survival for 750 consecutive patients discharged from a single hospital after evaluation for heart transplantation from 1985 to 1989 (Group I, n = 359) and from 1990 to April 1993 (Group II, n = 391) was analyzed in relation to atrial fibrillation. In Group I, class I antiarrhythmic drugs and hydralazine vasodilator therapy were routinely allowed. In Group II, amiodarone and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors were first-line antiarrhythmic and vasodilating drugs. A history of atrial fibrillation was present in 20% of patients in Group I and 24% of those in Group II. Patients with atrial fibrillation in the two groups had similar clinical and hemodynamic profiles. Among patients with atrial fibrillation, those in Group II had a markedly better 2-year survival (0.66 vs. 0.39, p = 0.001) and sudden death-free survival (0.84 vs. 0.70, p = 0.01) than those in Group I. In each time period, survival was worse for patients with than without atrial fibrillation in Group I (0.39 vs. 0.55, p = 0.002) but not in Group II (0.66 vs. 0.75, p = 0.09). The prognosis of patients with advanced heart failure and atrial fibrillation is improving. These findings support the practice of avoiding class I antiarrhythmic drugs in this group and may reflect recent beneficial changes in heart failure therapy.Journal of the American College of Cardiology 12/1996; 28(6):1458-63. · 14.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Advanced heart failure, defined as persistence of limiting symptoms despite therapy with agents of proven efficacy, accounts for the majority of morbidity and mortality in heart failure. To review current medical therapy for advanced heart failure. We searched MEDLINE for all articles containing the term advanced heart failure that were published between 1980 and 2001; EMBASE was searched from 1987-1999, Best Evidence from 1991-1998, and Evidence-Based Medicine from 1995-1999. The Cochrane Library also was searched for critical reviews and meta-analyses of congestive heart failure. Randomized controlled trials of therapy for 150 patients or more were included if advanced heart failure was represented. Other common clinical situations were addressed from smaller trials as available, trials of milder heart failure, consensus guidelines, and both published and personal clinical experience. Data quality was determined by publication in peer-reviewed literature or inclusion in professional society guidelines. A primary focus for care of advanced heart failure is ongoing identification and treatment of the elevated filling pressures that cause disabling symptoms. While angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta-adrenergic agents can slow disease progression and prolong survival, titration and tolerability often present challenges. Most patients are not eligible for surgical intervention but do benefit from a medical regimen tailored to individual clinical and hemodynamic profiles and from heart failure management programs that reduce rehospitalization. Survival ranges from 80% at 2 years for patients rendered free of congestion to less than 50% at 6 months for patients with refractory symptoms, in whom end-of-life options may include hospice care and inactivation of implantable defibrillators. Current management of advanced heart failure is based more on consensus than on randomized trials. Systematic investigation should address not only new therapies but also strategies for selecting and optimizing therapies already available.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 03/2002; 287(5):628-40. · 29.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is the most commonly encountered sustained cardiac arrhythmia. Restoration and maintenance of sinus rhythm is believed by many physicians to be superior to rate control only. However, there are no prospective data that compare both therapeutic strategies. The Pharmacological Intervention in Atrial Fibrillation (PIAF) trial was a randomised trial in 252 patients with atrial fibrillation of between 7 days and 360 days duration, which compared rate (group A, 125 patients) with rhythm control (group B, 127 patients). In group A, diltiazem was used as first-line therapy and amiodarone was used in group B. The primary study endpoint was improvement in symptoms related to atrial fibrillation. Over the entire observation period of 1 year, a similar proportion of patients reported improvement in symptoms in both groups (76 responders at 12 months in group A vs 70 responders in group B, p=0.317). Amiodarone administration resulted in pharmacological restoration of sinus rhythm in 23% of patients. Walking distance in a 6 min walk test was better in group B compared with group A, but assessment of quality of life showed no differences between groups. The incidence of hospital admission was higher in group B (87 [69%] out of 127 vs 30 [24%] out of 125 in group A, p=0.001). Adverse drug effects more frequently led to a change in therapy in group B (31 [25%] patients compared with 17 [14%] in group A, p=0.036). With respect to symptomatic improvement in patients with atrial fibrillation, the therapeutic strategies of rate versus rhythm control yielded similar clinical results overall. However, exercise tolerance is better with rhythm control, although hospital admission is more frequent. These data may serve as a basis to select therapy in individual patients.The Lancet 12/2000; 356(9244):1789-94. · 39.06 Impact Factor