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Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1996 Nov;19(11 Pt 2):1939-43.

Conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation with single loading oral dose of propafenone: is in-hospital admission absolutely necessary?

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Department of Cardiology, St. Anna Hospital, Como, Italy.


A population of 283 patients with recent onset (< 72 hours) AF, without heart failure, who received a single 450- or 600-mg oral dose of propafenone, or digoxin 1 mg, or placebo for conversion to sinus rhythm (SR), was studied to determine whether a routine admission to the hospital for drug administration is justified. Previous bradyarrhythmias or sick sinus syndrome (SSS), and concomitant use of antiarrhythmic drugs were exclusion criteria. None of the 283 patients studied experienced VT or VF and none of them needed implantation of a temporary pacemaker. Periods of atrial tachyarrhythmias with regularization of atrial waves and 1:1 AV conduction were observed in only two cases, both receiving placebo. No predictor of proarrhythmia was found among the clinical variables considered (age, etiology, arrhythmia duration, atrial dimension, and blood potassium). No serious hemodynamic adverse effects were noted in either group. The rates of conversion to SR after 4 hours were: 80 (57%) of 141 patients who received propafenone and 35 (25%) of 142 patients who received digoxin or placebo (P < 0.001). Acute oral treatment with propafenone is simple and effective for the conversion of recent onset AF to SR in patients without clinical signs of heart failure. The routine admission of these patients to the hospital is not necessary. Home-based administration of oral propafenone to a selected group of patients could significantly increase the cost effectiveness of this treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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