The availability of intravenous (IV) Sotalol has equalized the treatment options since both amiodarone and sotalol are available in both IV and oral formulations. A review of the efficacy of sotalol as compared to amiodarone both for conversion of atrial fibrillation (AF) and maintenance of normal sinus rhythm (NSR) following cardiac surgery was undertaken. Standard methods of meta-analysis were employed. Full text publications of clinical trials written in English that compared the efficacy of sotalol to amiodarone were included in the analysis. For the conversion of AF to NSR, five studies were found eligible for the analysis. Two studies clinically compared sotalol to amiodarone for the maintenance of NSR after cardiac surgery. The common relative success of sotalol was 0.947 (95Cl: 0.837 to 1.071, P = 0.385), revealing essentially no differences in efficacy for conversion between amiodarone and sotalol. The average conversion rate was 47% with sotalol and 52% with amiodarone. The conversion rates were lower for persistent AF (sotalol 22% and amiodarone 27%), while greatest for recent onset AF (88% sotalol and 77% for amiodarone). For maintenance of NSR the risk of developing post-operative atrial fibrillation was practically the same in both regimes, relative risk = 1.214 (95% CI: 0.815-1.808, p=0.339). In summary, sotalol and amiodarone are equally effective in AF conversion and maintenance of NSR post-cardiac surgery.
Credits: John Somberg, MD; Janos Molnar, MD