• Thirty-eight patients were studied to evaluate amiodarone hydrochloride in the treatment of refractory atrial fibrillation. Among them were 25 with sustained atrial fibrillation and 13 with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. All patients were symptomatic and refractory to therapeutic doses of at least two conventional drug trials, and patients with atrial fibrillation had relapsed from electroversion. Amiodarone hydrochloride was administered in doses of 5 mg/kg intravenously, then 600 to 800 mg/d for seven to ten days, followed by 200 to 400 mg/d. Holter recordings were obtained every one to three months. The effect of amiodarone on the ventricular rate during sustained atrial fibrillation was evaluated in 18 patients and decreased from 99/min (range, 72/min to 143/min) at baseline to 75/min (range, 60/min to 102/min) at follow-up before conversion. Conversion to normal sinus rhythm occurred in 19 patients (76%), including 11 with and eight without directcurrent cardioversion. During long-term treatment, sinus rhythm was sustained on an average of 16 months (range, three to 27 months) in 20 patients (53%). This included 11 of 25 patients with sustained atrial fibrillation and nine of 13 patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, with only four of these patients relapsing. Four patients (11%) developed intolerable side effects, but no serious toxic effects were encountered, perhaps because of the relatively low doses of amiodarone hydrochloride that were used (average, 232 ±80 mg/d). Amiodarone is a safe and effective alternative to standard therapy in patients with refractory sustained or paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:1401-1404)
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