Rate-control vs. rhythm-control in patients with atrial fibrillation: a meta-analysis

Luca Testa, Giuseppe G L Biondi-Zoccai, Antonio Dello Russo, Fulvio Bellocci, Felicita Andreotti, Filippo Crea
European Heart Journal 2005, 26 (19): 2000-6

AIMS: To systematically assess the risk/benefit ratio of a rate-control strategy vs. a rhythm-control strategy in patients with first or recurrent atrial fibrillation (AF).

METHODS AND RESULTS: We searched Medline, CENTRAL, and other sources up to September 2004 for randomized trials. Individual and pooled random-effect odd ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) [OR (95% CI)] were calculated for the combined endpoint of all cause death and thromboembolic stroke (CEP), major bleeds (intra and extracranial), and systemic embolism. Number needed to treat (NNT) to avoid one CEP and heterogeneity were also assessed. Five studies enrolling 5239 patients with AF compared rate-control vs. rhythm-control. Average follow-up ranged from 1 to 3.5 years. A rate-control strategy compared with a rhythm-control approach was associated with a significantly reduced risk of CEP [OR 0.84 (0.73, 0.98), P=0.02], and with a trend towards a reduced risk of death [OR 0.87 (0.74, 1.02), P=0.09] and thromboembolic stroke [OR 0.80 (0.6, 1.07), P=0.14]. NNT to save one CEP was 50. There was no significant difference in the risk of major bleeds [OR 1.14 (0.9, 1.45), P=0.28] and systemic embolism [OR 0.93 (0.43, 2.02), P=0.90]. No significant heterogeneity was found in any of the analyses (P>0.1).

CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis of 5239 patients with AF indicates that an initial rate-control strategy compared with a rhythm-control one is associated with a better prognosis, thus representing the standard treatment against which to test new therapeutic approaches.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"