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Rate control is better than rhythm control in atrial fibrillation

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7388.0/f (Published 08 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:f

Question Is rate control or rhythm control the preferred strategy in high risk patients with atrial fibrillation?

Synopsis We have traditionally tried to be fairly aggressive, at least initially, in managing atrial fibrillation, with the goal of keeping patients in normal sinus rhythm. To do so often requires multiple episodes of cardioversion and potentially toxic antiarrhythmic drugs. Many patients are managed with rate control and anticoagulation alone, though. This study was designed to compare these strategies. It was federally funded. Patients were included if they were over age 65 or if they had “other risk factors for …

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