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Procainamide conversion of acute atrial fibrillation after open-heart surgery compared with digoxin treatment.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


In 30 patients who developed atrial fibrillation after open-heart surgery the efficacy of intravenous procainamide was evaluated and compared with standard acute digoxin digitalisation. The patients were randomized to two groups of 15. One group received procainamide intravenously at a rate of 25 mg/min and with maximum dose 15 mg/kg. In the other group digoxin 0.75-1.0 mg was given intravenously according to renal function and body weight. Conversion to sinus rhythm occurred during or immediately after the infusion in 87% of the procainamide group, but only in 60% of the digoxin group (p < 0.05). The mean time from start of treatment to conversion was 40 min in the procainamide vs. 540 min in the digoxin group (p < 0.002). There were no serious complications of the procainamide treatment. Intravenous procainamide conversion of postoperative atrial fibrillation is concluded to be effective and safe and can be recommended as the treatment of first choice in awake and nonintubated postoperative cardiac patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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