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J Emerg Med. 2013 Jul;45(1):117-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.01.027. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Is emergency department cardioversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation safe and effective?

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1
Division of Emergency Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very common dysrhythmia presenting to Emergency Departments (EDs). Controversy exists regarding the optimal clinical therapy for these patients, which typically focuses on rhythm rate-control and admission or cardioversion and discharge home.

CLINICAL QUESTION:

Is ED cardioversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation safe, effective, and does it result in positive meaningful patient outcomes?

EVIDENCE REVIEW:

Five observation studies with nearly 1600 ED patients with atrial fibrillation treated with either rate-control or cardioversion were reviewed and results compiled.

RESULTS:

Overall, ED cardioversion for recent-onset AF seems safe and effective, with success rates ranging from 85.5% to 97% in these studies. Although further research should seek to identify patients at low risk for thromboembolic complication, more rigorously assess patient satisfaction, and show cost savings, emergency physicians should feel comfortable using this approach in select patients.

CONCLUSION:

ED cardioversion for recent-onset AF seems safe and effective.

PMID:
23643237
DOI:
10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.01.027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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