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Circulation Journal
Vol. 75 (2011) No. 4 p. 970-978



Controversies in Cardiovascular Medicine

Congestive heart failure (CHF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) often coexist, and each increase the morbidity and mortality associated with the other. Until now, many studies have reported that a strategy of rate control, in combination with anticoagulation in patients at risk of thromboembolic events, appears to be at least equivalent to a strategy of maintaining sinus rhythm with currently available pharmacological therapeutic options. As compared to rhythm control therapy, rate control treatment is simple and relatively easy. Therefore, pharmacological rate control should be considered initially in patients with AF associated with CHF. However, cardiac symptoms associated with AF may continue after achieving reasonable ventricular rate control. Either pharmacological or non-pharmacological rhythm control needs to be considered at that time. Amiodarone is the only recommended antiarrhythmic drug in the recent therapeutic guidelines for CHF, and can be used for both rhythm and rate control of AF. However, there is no question that some patients require early non-pharmacological rhythm control instead of long-lasting rate control. Catheter ablation (CA) can be applicable even in AF associated with CHF, but the results of CA are closely associated with the clinical and electrophysiological characteristics in each patient, as well as with the experience with this procedure in each institution. Indications for and the appropriate period of CA need to be carefully examined in each individual. (Circ J 2011; 75: 970 - 978)


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