ACC: Several Atrial Fibrillation Approaches Assessed
Studies find betrixaban, cryoablation and catheter ablation promising for atrial fibrillation
MONDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Both cryoablation and catheter ablation appear to be effective in treating atrial fibrillation, while betrixaban seems to be well-tolerated and safe, according to the results of three studies presented at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology, held from March 14 to 16 in Atlanta.
In the Sustained Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (STOP-AF) study, researchers randomly assigned 245 patients in a 2:1 ratio to cryoablation or anti-arrhythmic drug therapy. They found that nearly 70 percent of patients treated with cryoablation remained free of atrial fibrillation after 12 months and did not require non-study medication or an interventional procedure, compared with approximately 7 percent of patients undergoing anti-arrhythmic drug therapy. Just over 3 percent of the patients treated with cryoablation experienced a serious complication.
In the Catheter Ablation Versus Anti-arrhythmic Drug Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation (CABANA) pilot study, researchers assigned 60 patients -- more than two-thirds with a persistent or long-standing persistent form of the arrhythmia -- to catheter ablation or drug therapy (mostly anti-arrhythmic drugs). They found that catheter ablation appeared to be more effective in preventing recurrent symptomatic atrial fibrillation but noted that success rates were lower than in other randomized controlled trials. In a third study, researchers concluded that betrixaban appears to be safe and well-tolerated in atrial fibrillation patients and could pose a similar or lower risk of serious bleeding than warfarin.
"Betrixaban is in an early stage of development, but these results provide helpful indicators regarding the path forward for further development of this drug," Michael D. Ezekowitz, M.D., of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and lead researcher of the third study, said in a statement.
The STOP-AF study was funded by Medtronic, with which the lead author reported a financial relationship. Two authors of the CABANA pilot study reported financial ties to various pharmaceutical companies, and one of them disclosed a financial interest in the technology used to analyze heart images for the study. The study evaluating betrixaban was funded by Portola Pharmaceuticals and Merck & Company. One author of the study reported receiving grant support and serving as a consultant for Portola Pharmaceuticals and other medical companies.