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Do Statins Decrease the Arrhythmia Burden in Patients with Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?


BACKGROUND: Pulmonary-vein isolation is increasingly being used to treat atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure. METHODS: In this prospective, multicenter clinical trial, we randomly assigned patients with symptomatic, drug-resistant atrial fibrillation, an ejection fraction of 40% or less, and New York Heart Association class II or III heart failure to undergo either pulmonary-vein isolation or atrioventricular-node ablation with biventricular pacing. All patients completed the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure questionnaire (scores range from 0 to 105, with a higher score indicating a worse quality of life) and underwent echocardiography and a 6-minute walk test (the composite primary end point). Over a 6-month period, patients were monitored for both symptomatic and asymptomatic episodes of atrial fibrillation. RESULTS: In all, 41 patients underwent pulmonary-vein isolation, and 40 underwent atrioventricular-node ablation with biventricular pacing; none were lost to follow-up at 6 months. The composite primary end point favored the group that underwent pulmonary-vein isolation, with an improved questionnaire score at 6 months (60, vs. 82 in the group that underwent atrioventricular-node ablation with biventricular pacing; P<0.001), a longer 6-minute-walk distance (340 m vs. 297 m, P<0.001), and a higher ejection fraction (35% vs. 28%, P<0.001). In the group that underwent pulmonary-vein isolation, 88% of patients receiving antiarrhythmic drugs and 71% of those not receiving such drugs were free of atrial fibrillation at 6 months. In the group that underwent pulmonary-vein isolation, pulmonary-vein stenosis developed in two patients, pericardial effusion in one, and pulmonary edema in another; in the group that underwent atrioventricular-node ablation with biventricular pacing, lead dislodgment was found in one patient and pneumothorax in another. CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary-vein isolation was superior to atrioventricular-node ablation with biventricular pacing in patients with heart failure who had drug-refractory atrial fibrillation. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00599976.) 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society

Credits: Tsai CT; Lai LP; Hwang JJ; Wang YC; Chiang FT; Lin JL



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