, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 199-204
Date: 07 Mar 2013

Rate control in atrial fibrillation, insight into the RACE II study

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Currently, in Europe, more than 6 million patients have atrial fibrillation (AF) [1]. It is expected that this number will double in the next 30–50 years [13]. With AF, the risk of death, stroke and heart failure is increased [46], and exercise capacity and quality of life are reduced [7, 8]. Thus, AF is not a benign disease. Despite efforts to maintain sinus rhythm, AF is a progressive arrhythmia [911] and many patients eventually develop permanent AF. Until recently, the treatment of this specific patient group was not evidence based. An evidence-based treatment strategy is indispensable considering the large patient population.

It was not until the beginning of this decade that it became apparent that it was not the rhythm that determined the prognosis, i.e. there was no difference in outcome between rate (treatment aimed at heart rate reduction) and rhythm control (treatment aimed at restoration and maintenance of sinus rhythm) [1218]. However, different definitions ...