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The Montreal Heart Institute presents findings on congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation
Date:6/19/2008

Cardiovascular death occurred in 182 (27%) patients in the rhythm-control group compared with 175 (25%) in the rate-control arm. Total mortality, worsening heart failure and stroke were similar between the two groups. Hospitalizations were more frequent in the rhythm-control group, many due to hospitalization for management of atrial fibrillation.

Rate-control should be the primary approach

The AF-CHF trial provides important new information concerning two widely-used treatment strategies for atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure. The routine use of a rhythm-control strategy did not reduce the rate of death in comparison with a rate-control strategy. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in other important outcomes such as worsening heart failure or stroke. The rate-control strategy eliminated the need for repeated cardioversions and reduced rates of hospitalization. In conclusion, the results of this trial suggest that rate-control, should be considered the primary approach for patients with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.

"It is now clear that the rate-control strategy offers a less complex approach for the management of atrial fibrillation and could reduce rates of hospitalization" says Dr. Denis Roy, the principal investigator.

"The result of this provocative study challenges the conventional wisdom, and shows that these patients can be conservatively managed, without repeated electric shocks. This will serve as a new goal post for future care of these patients," said Dr. Peter Liu, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.

About atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a cardiac rhythm disorder in which the upper chamber of the heart (the atria) beats irregularly and very rapidly. Patients may experience this in the form of palpitations, shortness of breath or chest pain. This is the most common form of su
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Contact: Valrie Gonzalo
gonzalo@videotron.ca
514-626-6976
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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