Which Is Better? Rate Versus Rhythm Control in Atrial Fibrillation: A Systematic Review

Link to article at PubMed

Cureus. 2023 Dec 3;15(12):e49869. doi: 10.7759/cureus.49869. eCollection 2023 Dec.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The optimal approach to managing AF, specifically rate control versus rhythm control, remains a topic of debate in clinical practice. This systematic review aims to compare the rate control and rhythm control strategies based on their clinical outcomes, quality of life, and adverse events associated with them. A comprehensive search was conducted using PubMed, Google Scholar, Science Direct, Research Gate, MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online), Scopus, and Embase (Excerpta Medica dataBASE) databases. A total of 1657 research papers were identified through the search strategy, and after applying the eligibility criteria, 28 studies were selected for the analysis. The studies encompassed a range of methodologies, including randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and meta-analyses. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed for study selection, data extraction, and analysis. The outcomes of interest included all: cause mortality, stroke, bleeding events, cardiovascular hospitalizations, quality of life, and adverse effects of treatment. Data were synthesized and presented in tables, charts, and forest plots for meta-analysis where appropriate. The results indicate that both rate control and rhythm control strategies have their own merits and limitations, with the outcomes varying based on patient characteristics and comorbidities. While rhythm control strategies may lead to better symptom control and improved quality of life, rate control strategies may be associated with lower risks of adverse events and complications. This systematic review provides a comprehensive overview of the current evidence regarding rate and rhythm control strategies in AF management, offering insights for clinical decision-making and highlighting the need for individualized treatment approaches.

PMID:38169694 | PMC:PMC10758588 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.49869

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