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The effects of ranolazine on paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in patients with coronary artery disease: a preliminary observational study

The impact of ranolazine, an anti-ishemic agent with antiarrhythmic properties, on paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) remains unclear. Pacing devices can be useful tools for disclosing even asymptomatic PAF. Purpose of this study is to assess the effect of ranolazine on atrial fibrillation (AF), in patients with CAD, PAF and a dual-chamber pacemaker.

We studied 74 patients with CAD, PAF, and sick sinus syndrome or atrio-ventricular block, treated with pacemakers capable to detect PAF episodes. The total time in AF, AF burden, and the number of PAF episodes within the last 6 months before enrolment in the study, mean AF duration per episode, and the QTc interval were initially assessed. Subsequently, patients were randomized into additional treatment with ranolazine (375 mg twice daily) or placebo. Following six months of treatment, all parameters were reassessed and compared to those before treatment. 

Ranolazine was associated with shorter total AF duration (81.56±45.24 hours versus 68.71±34.84 hours, p=0.002), decreased AF burden (1.89±1.05% versus 1.59±0.81%, p=0.002), and shortened mean AF duration (1.15±0.41 hours versus 0.92±0.35 hours, p=0.01). In the placebo group no such differences were observed. In both groups, no significant differences in the number of PAF episodes and QTc duration were observed.

We conclude that in patients with CAD and PAF, ranolazine reduces the total time in AF, AF burden, and mean AF duration. These findings imply additional antiarrhythmic properties of ranolazine on atrial myocardium and indicate the necessity of its use in ischemic patients with PAF.

Credits: Dionyssios Leftheriotis; Panayota Flevari; George Theodorakis; Angelos Rigopoulos; Ignatios Ikonomidis; Fotis Panou; Vassilios Sourides; Panagiotis Simitsis; Georgios Giannakakis; Isaac Aidonidis; Ioannis Rizos; Maria Anastasiou-Nana

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