RAFF-3 Trial: A Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomised Trial to Improve Care of Acute Atrial Fibrillation and Flutter in the Emergency Department
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BACKGROUND: We sought to improve care of patients with acute atrial fibrillation (AF) and flutter (AFL) in the emergency department (ED) by implementing the CAEP AAFF Best Practice Checklist. METHODS: We conducted a stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial at 11 large community and academic hospital EDs, in five Canadian provinces and enrolled consecutive AF/AFL patients. The study intervention was the introduction of the CAEP Checklist using a knowledge translation-implementation approach that included behavior change techniques and organization/system level strategies. The primary outcome was length of stay in ED and secondary outcomes were discharge home, use of rhythm control, adverse events, and 30-day status. Analysis used mixed effects regression adjusting for covariates. RESULTS: Patient visits in the control (N=314) and intervention (N=404) periods were similar with mean age 62.9, 54% male, 71% onset <12 hours, and 86% atrial fibrillation, 14% atrial flutter. We observed a reduction in length of stay of 20.9% (95% CI 5.5 to 33.8%, P=0.01), an increase in use of rhythm control (adjusted odds ratio (OR 4.5, 1.8-11.6; P=0.002), and decrease in use of rate control medications (OR 0.5, 0.2 to 0.9; P=0.02). There was no change in adverse events and no strokes or deaths by 30 days. CONCLUSIONS: The RAFF-3 Trial led to optimized care of AF/AFL patients with decreased ED lengths of stay, increased ED rhythm control by drug or electricity, and no increase in adverse events. Early cardioversion allows AF/AFL patients to quickly resume normal activities. CLINICALTRIALS. GOV IDENTIFIER: NCT03627143.
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