AIMS: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice. Episodes may stop spontaneously (paroxysmal AF); may terminate only via intervention (persistent AF); or may persist indefinitely (permanent AF) (see European and American guidelines, referenced below, for more precise definitions). Recently, there has been renewed interest in an approach to terminate AF acutely referred to as 'pill-in-the-pocket' (PITP). The PITP is recognized in both the US and European guidelines as an effective option using an oral antiarrhythmic drug for acute conversion of acute/recent-onset AF. However, how PITP is currently used has not been systematically evaluated.
METHODS AND RESULTS: The recently published Antiarrhythmic Interventions for Managing Atrial Fibrillation (AIM-AF) survey included questions regarding current PITP usage, stratified by US vs. European countries surveyed, by representative countries within Europe, and by cardiologists vs. electrophysiologists. This manuscript presents the data from this planned sub-study. Our survey revealed that clinicians in both the USA and Europe consider PITP in about a quarter of their patients, mostly for recent-onset AF with minimal or no structural heart disease (guideline appropriate). However, significant deviations exist. See the Graphical abstract for a summary of the data.
CONCLUSION: Our findings highlight the frequent use of PITP and the need for further physician education about appropriate and optimal use of this strategy.
Reiffel, James A; Blomström-Lundqvist, Carina; Boriani, Giuseppe; Goette, Andreas; Kowey, Peter R; Merino, Jose L; Piccini, Jonathan P; Saksena, Sanjeev; and Camm, A John, "Real-World Utilization of the Pill-In-The-Pocket Method for Terminating Episodes of Atrial Fibrillation: Data From the Multinational Antiarrhythmic Interventions for Managing Atrial Fibrillation (AIM-AF) Survey" (2023). Department of Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 416.
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