RAFF-3 Trial: A Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomised Trial to Improve Care of Acute Atrial Fibrillation and Flutter in the Emergency Department Journal Articles uri icon

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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 Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Acute AF/AFL Best Practices Checklist. METHODS: We conducted a stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial at 11 large community and academic hospital EDs in 5 Canadian provinces and enrolled consecutive AF/AFL patients. The study intervention was introduction of the CAEP Checklist with the use of a knowledge translation-implementation approach that included behaviour change techniques and organisation/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 years, 54% male, 71% onset < 12 hours, and 86% AF, 14% AFL. We observed a reduction in length of stay of 20.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.5%-33.8%; P = 0.01), an increase in use of rhythm control (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 4.5, 95% CI 1.8-11.6; P = 0.002), and a decrease in use of rate-control medications (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.2-0.9; 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 optimised 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.


  • Stiell, Ian G
  • Archambault, Patrick M
  • Morris, Judy
  • Mercier, Eric
  • Eagles, Debra
  • Perry, Jeffrey J
  • Scheuermeyer, Frank
  • Clark, Greg
  • Gosselin, Sophie
  • Vadeboncoeur, Alain
  • Parkash, Ratika
  • de Wit, Kerstin
  • Patey, Andrea M
  • Thiruganasambandamoorthy, Venkatesh
  • Taljaard, Monica

publication date

  • October 2021