Journal Article

Value of single oral loading dose of propafenone in converting recent-onset atrial fibrillation

J. Azpitarte, M. Alvarez, R. Baün, R. García, E. Moreno, F. Martín, L. Tercedor and R. Fernändez

in European Heart Journal

Published on behalf of European Society of Cardiology

Volume 18, issue 10, pages 1649-1654
Published in print October 1997 | ISSN: 0195-668x
Published online October 1997 | e-ISSN: 1522-9645 | DOI:
Value of single oral loading dose of propafenone in converting recent-onset atrial fibrillation

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To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a single loading oral dose of propafenone in the interruption of recent-onset atrial fibrillation.


After a complete medical history, physical examination, 12-lead ECG, chest X-ray, and routine biochemical laboratory testing, 55 consecutive patients with recent-onset atrial fibrillation were randomized double-blind in the emergency department for the administration of either a single oral dose (450 to 750 mg) of propafenone (29 cases) or a placebo (26 cases). After the 24-h observation period, comprehensive echocardiographic examination was performed.


The groups were homogeneous as regards biological, clinical and echocardiographic characteristics. Two hours after treatment, 12 patients (41%) on propafenone but only two (8%) on placebo had converted to sinus rhythm (P=0·005). This striking difference was maintained 6 h after treatment (65 vs 31%; P=0·015) but lessened at 12 h (69% vs 42%; P=0·060) and was insignificant at the end of the 24-h treatment period (79% vs 73%; P=0·752). Apart from hypotension, transient in three cases and sustained in one whose later echocardiographic examination demonstrated left systolic ventricular dysfunction, propafenone was well tolerated.


Although there is no significant difference in the rates of conversion 24 h after treatment, propafenone works faster than placebo in achieving sinus rhythm. This rapid action of oral propafenone can be useful to solve quickly the clinical problems of a high proportion of patients arriving at the emergency department with acute atrial fibrillation.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; propafenone; randomized trial

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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