Electrical cardioversion for atrial fibrillation: outcomes in 'real-life' clinical practice

Berry, C. , Stewart, S., Payne, E. M., McArthur, J. D. and McMurray, J. J.V. (2001) Electrical cardioversion for atrial fibrillation: outcomes in 'real-life' clinical practice. International Journal of Cardiology, 81, pp. 29-35. (doi:10.1016/S0167-5273(01)00522-8) (PMID:11690662)

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Abstract

Background: There is currently considerable debate with regard to the optimal management of atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF), including the long-term success of electrical cardioversion and the duration of anti-coagulation thereafter. The aim of this study was to investigate the current management and outcomes of electrical cardioversion in unselected patients in ordinary clinical practice. Methods: A prospective, observational study of 111 consecutive patients with AF who had been referred for electrical cardioversion was undertaken in a large teaching hospital. After cardioversion, patients were followed-up for 12 months or until death if this occurred earlier. Results: Sinus rhythm was restored immediately in 96 of 111 (86%) patients. Only 54 of 88 (61%) patients in sinus rhythm at discharge remained in this rhythm at 1 month. Of these 54, a further 21 (39%) had relapsed into AF by 12 months. Independent predictors of sinus rhythm at discharge were younger age (for a difference of 5 years, odds ratio=1.54; 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.16; P=0.002) and absence of hypertension (1.73, 1.22–1.91; P=0.015). The presence of sinus rhythm at discharge (6.4, 1.6–25.3; P=0.007) was an independent predictor of sinus rhythm at 1 month, whereas older age was a negative predictor (0.96, 0.92–1.0; P=0.05). Health-related quality of life improved at 1 and 12 months in those patients who remained in sinus rhythm compared to those who remained in AF. Conclusions: Though electrical cardioversion for AF has a high initial success rate only a minority of patients remained in sinus rhythm 1 year. The common practice of discontinuing anticoagulant treatment in patients in sinus rhythm at 1 month may be unsafe. Long-term maintenance of sinus rhythm is, however, associated with better health-related quality of life.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Berry, Professor Colin and McMurray, Professor John
Authors: Berry, C., Stewart, S., Payne, E. M., McArthur, J. D., and McMurray, J. J.V.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences
Journal Name:International Journal of Cardiology
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0167-5273
ISSN (Online):1874-1754

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