Maximum-fixed energy shocks for cardioverting atrial fibrillation

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AIMS: Direct-current cardioversion is one of the most commonly performed procedures in cardiology. Low-escalating energy shocks are common practice but the optimal energy selection is unknown. We compared maximum-fixed and low-escalating energy shocks for cardioverting atrial fibrillation.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In a single-centre, single-blinded, randomized trial, we allocated elective atrial fibrillation patients to cardioversion using maximum-fixed (360-360-360 J) or low-escalating (125-150-200 J) biphasic truncated exponential shocks. The primary endpoint was sinus rhythm 1 min after cardioversion. Safety endpoints were any arrhythmia, myocardial injury, skin burns, and patient-reported pain after cardioversion. We randomized 276 patients, and baseline characteristics were well-balanced between groups (mean ± standard deviation age: 68 ± 9 years, male: 72%, atrial fibrillation duration >1 year: 30%). Sinus rhythm 1 min after cardioversion was achieved in 114 of 129 patients (88%) in the maximum-fixed energy group, and in 97 of 147 patients (66%) in the low-escalating energy group (between-group difference; 22 percentage points, 95% confidence interval 13-32, P < 0.001). Sinus rhythm after first shock occurred in 97 of 129 patients (75%) in the maximum-fixed energy group compared to 50 of 147 patients (34%) in the low-escalating energy group (between-group difference; 41 percentage points, 95% confidence interval 30-51). There was no significant difference between groups in any safety endpoint.

CONCLUSION: Maximum-fixed energy shocks were more effective compared with low-escalating energy shocks for cardioverting atrial fibrillation. We found no difference in any safety endpoint.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Volume41
Issue5
Pages (from-to)626-631
Number of pages6
ISSN0195-668X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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