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This article is the author's final published version in Circulation. Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, Volume 17, Issue 1, January 2024, Article number e0124541.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


BACKGROUND: There is a need for improved approaches to rhythm control therapy of atrial fibrillation (AF).

METHODS: The effectiveness of flecainide (1.5 µmol/L) and ibutilide (20 nmol/L), alone and in combination, to cardiovert and prevent AF recurrence was studied in canine-isolated coronary-perfused right atrioventricular preparations. We also examined the safety of the combination of flecainide (1.5 µmol/L) and ibutilide (50 nmol/L) using canine left ventricular wedge preparations.

RESULTS: Sustained AF (>1 hour) was inducible in 100%, 60%, 20%, and 0% of atria in the presence of acetylcholine alone, acetylcholine+ibutilide, acetylcholine+flecainide, and acetylcholine+ibutilide+flecainide, respectively. When used alone, flecainide and ibutilide cardioverted sustained AF in 40% and 20% of atria, respectively, but in 100% of atria when used in combination. Ibutilide prolonged atrial and ventricular effective refractory period by 15% and 8%, respectively, at a cycle length of 500 ms (P<0.05 for both). Flecainide increased the effective refractory period in atria by 27% (P<0.01) but by only 2% in the ventricles. The combination of the 2 drugs lengthened the effective refractory period by 42% in atria (P<0.01) but by only 7% (P<0.05) in the ventricles. In left ventricular wedges, ibutilide prolonged QT and Tpeak-Tend intervals by 25 and 55%, respectively (P<0.05 for both; cycle length, 2000 ms). The addition of flecainide (1.5 µmol/L) partially reversed these effects (P<0.05 for both parameters versus ibutilide alone). Torsades de Pointes score was relatively high with ibutilide alone and low with the drug combination.

CONCLUSIONS: In our experimental model, a combination of flecainide and ibutilide significantly improves cardioversion and prevents the recurrence of AF compared with monotherapies with little to no risk for the development of long-QT-mediated ventricular proarrhythmia.

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