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J Emerg Med. 1998 May-Jun;16(3):383-7.

Intravenous propafenone for converting recent onset atrial fibrillation in emergency departments: a randomized placebo-controlled multicenter trial. FAPS Investigators Study Group.

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Emergency Department, Ospedale Civile, Sassari, Italy.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most frequent dysrhythmias in patients coming to emergency departments (EDs), and pharmacological treatment is frequently performed. The aim of this randomized placebo-controlled multicenter trial was to compare propafenone (a class 1C antidysrhythmic agent), administered i.v. in the ED, with placebo in the treatment of recent-onset AF (<72 h). We randomly allocated 156 patients (88 males; 68 females) from 18 to 80 years old, with recent-onset AF, to receive i.v. propafenone (2 mg/kg for 10 min) or the matching placebo. The patients were followed for 2 h. Exclusion criteria were the presence of one of the following: lack of informed consent, clinical evidence of heart failure, clinical hyperthyroidism, recent acute myocardial infarction, atrioventricular block, cardiac valve dysfunction, a history of bronchial asthma, and current treatment with antidysrhythmic agents including digitalis. The two groups did not differ significantly in terms of sex, age, body weight, or estimated time elapsed since the beginning of atrial fibrillation. Conversion to sinus rhythm occurred in 13 of the 75 patients who received the placebo (17.3%) and in 57 of the 81 patients who were given propafenone (70.3%). In conclusion, intravenous propafenone administration in the ED can be considered a safe and effective approach for converting AF to sinus rhythm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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