Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 167–179 | Cite as

Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Efficacy of Cardioversion by Vernakalant and Comparators in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

  • Lori D. Bash
  • Jessica L. Buono
  • Glenn M. Davies
  • Amber Martin
  • Kyle Fahrbach
  • Hemant Phatak
  • Ruzan Avetisyan
  • Mkaya Mwamburi



Rate and rhythm control are two well established treatment objectives for atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. While symptom reduction is a primary treatment goal, therapeutic practice related to cardioversion varies by region and patient, with several precautions associated with the use of current therapies. No comprehensive literature review on the relative efficacy of existing cardioversion approaches compared to newly available therapies has been conducted.

Methods and results

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of pharmacologic therapies in eliciting cardioversion within 2 and 8–24 h among patients with recent-onset, short duration AF. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials in which cardioversion rates were evaluated in at least 2 treatment groups. Bayesian mixed-treatment comparisons estimated odds ratios (95% credible intervals) for successful cardioversion. Results within 2 h showed vernakalant IV, propafenone IV and flecainide (IV and oral) were more efficacious in pair-wise comparisons to placebo. Results were mixed in analyses comparing efficacy rates between 8 and 24 h. Few adverse events were reported, with the most common being bradycardia and hypotension.


In pair-wise comparisons of active treatment arms to one another, results suggest vernakalant IV, propafenone IV and flecainide appear to be effective in achieving rapid cardioversion in patients with short duration AF compared to other agents. Application of these findings to clinical practice need to account for the variable comorbidity profiles of patients, important determinants in the selection of appropriate therapy for individual patients. Though best practice methods were used, further research comparing treatments through direct head-to-head comparisons may be warranted to confirm these findings and further inform clinical practice.

Key words

Atrial fibrillation Cardioversion efficacy SYSTEMATIC REVIEW Meta-analysis 



We would like to acknowledge Ronald B. Langdon for his assistance in manuscript preparation.

Funding Sources

Ms. Martin and Drs. Fahrbach, Avetisyan, and Mwamburi were full time employees of United BioSource, Inc. at the time this work was conducted; United BioSource Inc., received funding support by Merck and Company, Inc. for the work that was done.


Please note that Drs. Bash, Davies, and Phatak were full time employees of Merck and Company, Inc. at the time this work was conducted.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori D. Bash
    • 1
  • Jessica L. Buono
    • 1
  • Glenn M. Davies
    • 1
  • Amber Martin
    • 1
  • Kyle Fahrbach
    • 1
  • Hemant Phatak
    • 1
  • Ruzan Avetisyan
    • 1
  • Mkaya Mwamburi
    • 1
  1. 1.Merck & Co., IncWhitehouse StationUSA

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