Atrial fibrillation: rate control versus maintenance of sinus rhythm

T P Donahue, J B Conti
Current Opinion in Cardiology 2001, 16 (1): 46-53
Atrial fibrillation is a common tachyarrhythmia encountered in clinical practice. Management has become increasingly complex as the therapeutic options have multiplied. Two basic strategies are available: rhythm control with or without pharmacologic manipulation, and rate control with anticoagulation. To date, no randomized controlled trial that compares the two strategies has been completed, although the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-Up Investigation of Rhythm Management (AFFIRM) trial is underway. This review outlines the rationale for each of the two basic treatment strategies, providing an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Included are clinical criteria used in selecting the appropriate treatment plan.

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