Antiarrhythmic drug therapy among patients presenting to emergency department with symptomatic atrial fibrillation - a prospective nationwide cohort
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CitationPenttilä Tero. Mäkynen Heikki. Hartikainen Juha. Hyppölä Harri. Lauri Timo. Lehto Mika. Lund Juha. Raatikainen MJ Pekka. and for the FinFib2 Investigators. (2017). Antiarrhythmic drug therapy among patients presenting to emergency department with symptomatic atrial fibrillation - a prospective nationwide cohort. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, 25, 81. 10.1186/s13049-017-0424-7.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia that causes numerous visits to emergency departments (ED). The aim of the FinFib2 study was to evaluate whether treatment of patients with AF in ED is consistent with the contemporary European Society of Cardiology (ESC) management guidelines. Here we report the results of antiarrhythmic drug therapy (AAD) in ED.
All patients within the two-week study period whose primary reason for the ED visit was symptomatic AF were included into this prospective multicentre study. Comprehensive data on factors contributing to the treatment of AF were collected, including a data of previous use of ADDs, and changes made for them during a visit in ED.
The study population consisted of 1013 consecutive patients (mean age 70 ± 13 years, 47.6% female). The mean European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) symptom score was 2.2 ± 0.8. Rhythm control strategy was opt for 498 (63.8%) and 140 (64.5%) patients with previously and newly diagnosed AF, respectively. In patients with previously diagnosed AF the most frequently used AAD was a beta blocker (80.9%). Prior use of class I (11.4%) and III (9.1%) AADs as well as start or adjustment of their dosage (7.4%) were uncommon. Most of the patients with newly diagnosed AF were prescribed a beta blocker (71.0%) or a calcium channel antagonist (24.0%), and only two of them received class I or class III AADs.
Our data demonstrated that in patients presenting to the ED with recurrent symptomatic AF and aimed for rhythm control strategy, the use of class I and class III AADs was rare despite ESC guideline recommendations. It is possible that early adaptation of a more aggressive rhythm control strategy might improve a quality of life for symptomatic patients and alleviate the ED burden associated with AF. Beta blockers were used by majority of patients as rate control therapy both in rate and rhythm control groups.