Low energy internal cardioversion (ICV) is a relatively new method. This report describes the long-term follow-up results of a prospective randomized comparison of low energy ICV and transthoracic cardioversion (TT CV) in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (AF).
Fifty-two patients (mean age, 60.6 ± 10.1 years, 23 males) with persistent AF were randomly assigned to either TT (n = 26) or ICV (n = 26). The baseline characteristics of the 2 groups were similar. Transthoracic CV was performed under sedation with hand-held electrodes in the apex-anterior position and high energy (100-360 J) monophasic shocks. ICV was performed by a dedicated balloon-directed catheter utilizing truncated, biphasic shocks of low energy (1-15 J).
Sinus rhythm (SR) was restored in 24/26 (92%) patients in the ICV group and in 22/26 (85%) patients in the TT CV group (P > 0.05). Immediate recurrence of AF (IRAF), defined as reappearance of AF within 2 minutes of successful CV, occurred in 5 patients (21%) in the ICV group and in 1 patient (4.5%) in the TT group (P > 0.05). Successfully cardioverted patients in whom no IRAF occurred were followed-up for 18 months under both warfarin and Class 1 or 3 antiarrhythmic drugs, as guided by the current ACC/AHA/ESC Guidelines. The rate of SR at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 18 months of follow-up was not significantly different between the 2 groups, and in an intention-to-treat analysis at 18 months, SR was present in 6 patients (23%) in the ICV group and in 10 patients (38%) in the TT group (P > 0.05). The majority of AF recurrences occurred within a month of successful CV in both groups (8/12 [67%] in the TT group and 15/18 [83%] in the ICV group, P > 0.05). The mortality, thromboembolic, and bleeding complication rates were similar in the 2 groups.
In this prospective randomized comparison of TT and low energy ICV in patients with persistent AF, the 18-month rates of SR and major adverse clinical events were found to be similar.
2006 by the International Heart Journal Association