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Am J Cardiol. 1991 Jan 15;67(2):137-41.

Reversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm by intravenous flecainide.

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Intensive Care Unit, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia.


Spontaneous reversion to sinus rhythm is a frequent occurrence in recent-onset atrial fibrillation (AF). In a randomized, double-blind, controlled study, intravenous flecainide (2 mg/kg, maximum dose 150 mg) was compared with placebo in the treatment of recent-onset AF (present for greater than or equal to 30 minutes and less than or equal to 72 hours' duration and a ventricular response greater than or equal to 120 beats/min). Intravenous digoxin (500 micrograms) was administered concurrently to all patients in both groups who had not previously taken digoxin. The trial medication was administered over 30 minutes. Exclusion criteria included hemodynamic instability, severe heart failure, recent antiarrhythmic therapy, hypokalemia and pacemaker dependence. One hundred two consecutive patients with recent-onset AF were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent continuous electrocardiographic monitoring in the intensive care or coronary care unit. Twenty-nine (57%) patients given flecainide and digoxin, but only 7 (14%) given placebo and digoxin, reverted to sinus rhythm in less than or equal to 1 hour after starting the trial medication infusion and remained in stable sinus rhythm (chi-square 18.9, p = 0.000013; odds ratio 8.3, 95% confidence interval 2.9 to 24.8). At the end of the 6-hour monitoring period, 34 patients (67%) in the flecainide-digoxin group were in stable sinus rhythm, whereas only 18 patients (35%) in the placebo-digoxin group had reverted (chi-square 8.83, p = 0.003; odds ratio 3.67, 95% confidence interval 1.5 to 9.1).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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