Atrial fibrillation: rate as important as rhythm

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 14 December 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1377
  1. Scott Gottlieb
  1. New York

Drugs that regulate heart rate are just as effective as drugs and procedures that control rhythm in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, as well as being cheaper and safer, according to two new studies. The new approach may also lead to fewer hospital admissions, presumably because of fewer side effects from the drugs that control heart rate.

To treat atrial fibrillation most doctors have preferred a strategy of restoring normal heart rhythm, which can involve electrically shocking the heart, partly on the assumption that this strategy results in fewer complications such …

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