More patients initially assigned to rhythm control crossed over to the rate control group than the reverse. This finding reinforces other studies that found antiarrhythmic drug therapies frequently fail, report the investigators.
At the conclusion of the study, 356 patients in the rhythm control arm had died from all causes compared to 310 in the rate control group. There was no difference observed when both strokes and deaths and other major events were considered together. During the study, 1374 patients in the rhythm control group were hospitalized compared to 1220 in the rate control group. Adverse drug effects, which were more common in the rhythm control group, included bradycardia (abnormally low heart rate) and lung problems. All important subgroups that were analyzed, including "age greater than or equal to 65 years" and "presence of coronary artery disease or hypertension" showed either non-significant differences between groups or a benefit with rate control.
To interview NHLBI scientists Dr. Michael Domanski or Dr. Yves Rosenberg about AFFIRM, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236. To interview
Dr. D. George Wyse, contact Leora Rabatch, Communications Department for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary at (403) 210-3894.