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Dr. Erika Kancler
In the United States alone, approximately 6 million people are estimated to have atrial fibrillation (AF)1. Those with AF are at a dangerously high risk for the development of stroke and/or death from emboli that form secondary to the deadly arrhythmia. Much controversy exists in the medical field surrounding the best way to treat AF to reduce both the associated morbidity and mortality. This study sought to bring clarity to the controversy by analyzing clinical trials comparing rhythm control vs. rate control of atrial fibrillation. Three studies were used to evaluate which method better increased quality of life for those with AF. In general, there was no clinically statistical difference in the improvement of morbidity or mortality, and thus quality of life, between medical rate and rhythm control; though there may be trend towards rhythm control in certain instances. In conclusion, the ultimate choice of which treatment method to use rests heavily on each individual presentation of atrial fibrillation and what is best for the patient specifically.
Dogbey S, Lee M. Determining a protocol: rate versus rhythm control in atrial fibrillation - a quality of life study. JMU Scholarly Commons Physician Assistant Capstones. http://commons.lib.jmu.edu/pacapstones/4/. Published August 1, 2016.