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Europace. 2011 Aug;13(8):1118-26. doi: 10.1093/europace/eur102. Epub 2011 May 15.

Impact of dronedarone on hospitalization burden in patients with atrial fibrillation: results from the ATHENA study.

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Department of Cardiology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, 2009 Hellerup, Denmark.



Cardiovascular (CV) hospitalization is a predictor of CV mortality and has a negative impact on patients' quality of life. The primary endpoint of A placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-arm Trial to assess the efficacy of dronedarone 400 mg bid for the prevention of cardiovascular Hospitalization or death from any cause in patiENTs with Atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter (ATHENA), a composite of first CV hospitalization or death from any cause, was significantly reduced by dronedarone. This post hoc analysis evaluated the secondary endpoint of CV hospitalization and the clinical benefit of dronedarone on the number and duration of CV hospitalizations in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).


ATHENA was a double-blind, parallel group study in 4628 patients with a history of paroxysmal/persistent AF and additional risk factors, treated with placebo or dronedarone. Dronedarone treatment significantly reduced the risk of first CV hospitalization (P < 0.0001 vs. placebo), while the risk of first non-CV hospitalization was similar in both groups (P = 0.77). About half of the CV hospitalizations were AF-related, with a median duration of hospital stay of four nights. The risk of any hospitalization for AF [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) 0.626 (0.546-0.719)] and duration of hospital stay were significantly reduced by dronedarone (P < 0.0001 vs. placebo). Dronedarone treatment reduced total hospitalizations for acute coronary syndrome (P = 0.0105) and the time between the first AF/atrial flutter recurrence and CV hospitalization/death (P = 0.0048). Hospitalization burden was significantly reduced across all levels of care (P < 0.05). Cumulative incidence data indicated that the effects of dronedarone persisted for at least 24 months.


Dronedarone reduced the risk for CV hospitalization and the total hospitalization burden in this patient group. The trial is registered under #NCT 00174785.

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