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Cardiac rate normalization in chronic atrial fibrillation: comparison of long-term efficacy of treatment with amiodarone versus AV node ablation and permanent His-bundle pacing.

  • Kirkutis, Algimantas
  • Poviliŭnas, Ausrius
  • Griciene, Pasaka
  • Polena, Sotir
  • Yang, Stephen
  • Yalamanchi, Geeta
  • Gintautas, Jonas
Published Article
Proceedings of the Western Pharmacology Society
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2004
PMID: 15633616


Chronic atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia with significant morbidity and mortality. AF has been the subject of considerable attention and intensive clinical research in recent years. Current opinion on the management of AF favors the restoration and maintenance of normal ventricular rhythm. This has several potential benefits, including the alleviation of arrhythmia-associated symptoms and hemodynamic improvements. Maintenance of frequents normalization of ventricular rhythm (NVR) can be achieved with antiarrhythmic drug therapy or with AV node radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and permanent ventricular pacing. Recent interest has focused on the use of class III antiarrhythmic agents, such as amiodarone hydrochloride. This investigation compared amiodarone to AV node RFA and permanent pacing of the His-bundle area in maintaining NVR in patients with resistant chronic AF. After 12 months of treatment with amiodarone (200 to 400 mg/d) 30 % of patients remained in NVR, 30 % were in transitional phase of improvement, and 40 % showed negative effect. Only a few patients in this group developed ocular or hepatic side effects. On one year follow-up was achieved in 100 % of cases without any clinically significant side effects being seen. In conclusion, analysis of the results of this study suggests that low-dose amiodarone is well tolerated in the management of chronic AF in a selected patient population. The more aggressive interventional radiofrequency ablation technique is significantly more effective and more reliable in the long-term clinical treatment of drug-resistant AF.

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