Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Although AF is not as lethal as some other arrhythmias, AF patients are at high risk for stroke and other serious complications. AF is also very difficult to treat. Although drugs are ineffective in a large percentage of patients, drugs are considered first line therapy in current guidelines.
Zapping arteries with electric energy, or radio frequency ablation (RFA) was originally hoped to be a cure for AF. Those earlier hopes have been dashed but some experts have held out hope that RFA therapy would be better than drug therapy as initial treatment.
Now a new trial offers scant support for earlier use of radio frequency ablation to treat atrial fibrillation.
Some 127 patients with paroxysmal AF were randomized to antiarrhythmic therapy or RFA as initial treatment in the RAAFT-2 trial…