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Conversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation: Which drug is the best?

Introduction: Vernakalant is a new, safe and effective drug used intravenously, which has proved to be more rapid in converting recent onset AF to sinus rhythm compared to placebo, amiodarone, propafenone and flecainide in clinical studies with few patients. Up to the present no study has been conducted comparing these three drugs with a substantial number of patients.

The aim of our study is to compare the time to conversion to sinus rhythm, hospital stay and adverse events between vernakalant or flecainide and propafenone in patients with a recent-onset atrial fibrillation.


Materials and Methods: 150 hemodynamically stable patients with recent onset AF without structural heart disease were prospectively included. A single oral dose of propafenone 600 mg was administered to 50 patients, 50 patients received intravenous vernakalant and other 50 patients received a single oral dose of flecainide 300 mg.  Clinical and laboratory variables were recorded.


Results: Baseline characteristics were similar in the three groups. Time to conversion to sinus rhythm was 12 minutes in the vernakalant group versus 151 minutes in the propafenone group and 162 minutes in flecainide group (p< 0.01).

The hospital stay was 243 minutes  in the vernakalant group versus 422 minutes in the propafenone group and 410 minutes in flecainide group (p< 0.01) (Figure 2).

No adverse events were reported.



Conclusion:  The time to conversion to sinus rhythm and hospital stay were statistical shorter in vernakalant group compared with flecainide and propafenone. There were no adverse events in the three groups.

Credits: Diego Conde; Pablo Elissamburu; Nicolas Lalor Leandro Rodriguez; Martin Aragon; Juan Pablo Costabel; Florencia Lambardi; Marcelo Trivi

Biosense Webster
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Introduction to AFib
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