What is the role of sinus rhythm restoration in the treatment of atrial fibrillation (Afib) (AF)?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Lawrence Rosenthal, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Restoration of sinus rhythm with regularization of the heart's rhythm improves cardiac hemodynamics and exercise tolerance. By maintaining the atrial contribution to cardiac output, symptoms of heart failure and overall quality of life can improve. As AF contributes to pathologic atrial and ventricular remodeling, restoration of sinus rhythm can slow or, in some cases, reverse atrial dilatation and left ventricular dysfunction. For these reasons, most clinicians focus initially on restoration and maintenance of sinus rhythm in patients with new-onset AF and opt for a rate-control strategy only when rhythm control fails.

However, several randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that a strategy aimed at restoring and maintaining sinus rhythm neither improves survival nor reduces the risk of stroke in patients with AF.

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