Initiation of antiarrhythmic drug therapy (AADx) for atrial fibrillation (AF) on an outpatient basis requires intensive ECG monitoring in order to assess antiarrhythmic efficacy as well as ECG signals of potential proarrhythmia. Dronedarone (DRO) reduces cardiovascular endpoints in AF patients fulfilling criteria of the ATHENA trial . In the present study transtelephonic ECG monitoring was used to guide initiation of AADx in AF patients fulfilling the ATHENA criteria.
In 19 consecutive patients (37% female; age 65+10 years; LVEF 62+7%; mean CHA2DS2-VASc score 2.9 + 1.6 (median=2), with symptomatic non-permanent AF and additional cardiovascular risk factors, DRO was prescribed as AADx of first choice. Initiation of therapy and follow-up were monitored by transtelephonic ECG recordings (VITAPHONE™100 IR; Vitaphone GmbH; Germany). In patients with persistent AF, electrical cardioversion was performed on an outpatient basis when DRO was started. Patients were followed for changes in QT intervals as well as AF recurrency. ECGs were transmitted according to a scheduled FU form as well as any time in case of pts symptoms.
Patients in whom DRO did not prevent AF recurrence were switched to alternative AADx, or to pulmonary vein isolation (PVI), respectively. At the end of long-term follow-up, DRO alone was successful in preventing AF recurrence in 5 of 19 patients (26%). When pts who responded to AADx of second or third choice or who underwent PVI were included, SR could be maintained in 17/19 pts (89%). No patient required discontinuation of AADx due to ventricular depolarization abnormalities, symptomatic bradycardia or pathologic QT prolongation.
In conclusion, transtelephonic ECG transmission is useful for close rhythm monitoring during initiation and follow-up of AADx, also during change from DRO to other AADx. DRO was effective to prevent AF recurrence in 26% of patients during a mean long-term follow-up of more than 30 months – which is well in line with data from the literature.
Credits: Thomas Klingenheben , Aref Albakri , Thomas M. Helms