Rhythm Control Vs Rate Control in a Contemporary Ambulatory Atrial Fibrillation Cohort: Post Hoc Analysis of the IMPACT-AF Trial Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: We examined the characteristics and outcomes in a contemporary ambulatory population of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), comparing rate control with rhythm control. METHODS: This is a post hoc analysis of a cluster-randomized trial (Integrated Management Program Advancing Community Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation [IMPACT-AF]) in ambulatory AF patients from 2016 to 2018, which compared use of a clinical decision support tool for general practitioners to usual care. This analysis compared patients managed with rate vs rhythm control, at entry into the study. Outcomes included AF-related emergency department (ED) visits, unplanned cardiovascular hospitalizations, and bleeding events at 12 months. RESULTS: A total of 870 patients were included in this analysis, 99 (11.4%) in the rhythm-control group, and 40% women. In the rhythm-control group, the mean age was younger (70 ± 11.4 vs 72.7 ± 9.5 years, P = 0.03), a higher number were paroxysmal (80% vs 43%, P < 0.001), and CHADS2 scores were lower. The rate of AF-related ED visits was higher in the rhythm-control group (17.2 vs 7.3%, P = 0.003), and repeat visits (rate ratio 3.03, 95% confidence interval [1.99-4.52], P < 0.001). The number of repeat ED visits was independently associated with female sex and being in the rhythm-control group. CONCLUSIONS: Both rate- and rhythm-control patients have recurrent ED visits, with a higher rate in patients treated with rhythm control. These findings are observational, but taken in the context of current guidelines could help develop further therapies aimed at improving symptom burden in both rhythm- and rate-control patients to broadly improve healthcare utilization in the AF population.


  • Govindapillai, Arun
  • Cox, Jafna L
  • Thabane, Lehana
  • Doucette, Steve
  • Xie, Feng
  • MacKillop, James H
  • Ciaccia, Antonio
  • Choudhri, Shurjeel H
  • Nemis-White, Joanna M
  • Hamilton, Laura M
  • Parkash, Ratika

publication date

  • June 2022