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Am J Cardiol. 1992 Jun 15;69(19):1570-3.

Left ventricular dysfunction due to atrial fibrillation in patients initially believed to have idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905.


Ten patients aged 22 to 80 years (median 57) with severe left ventricular (LV) dysfunction and atrial fibrillation (AF) with rapid ventricular response were evaluated after therapy. Because most patients were unaware of their arrhythmia, duration was usually unknown. All patients had heart failure symptoms; 9 presented with New York Heart Association class III or IV disability, and 1 with class II disability. Initial LV ejection fraction ranged from 12 to 30% (median 25). No patient had symptomatic coronary artery disease (4 underwent angiography). Myocarditis and infiltrative processes were excluded by biopsy in 5 patients. All patients were considered initially to have idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy with secondary AF. Ventricular rate was controlled in all patients, with sinus rhythm restored in 5. At follow-up (median 30 months, range 3 to 56), all patients were asymptomatic. LV ejection fraction after treatment ranged from 40 to 64% (median 52). It is concluded that in some patients initially considered to have idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, AF with rapid ventricular response may be the primary cause rather than the consequence of severe LV dysfunction. LV dysfunction may be completely reversible with ventricular rate control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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