Research Study

A Randomized Ablation-based Atrial Fibrillation Rhythm Control Versus Rate Control Trial in Patients With Heart Failure and High Burden Atrial Fibrillation
Principal Investigator 
Matthew Bennett


Body Locations and Systems 
Closed for Recruitment
Study Start/End 
Dec 30, 2016 to May 6, 2019
St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital
Dr. Matthew Bennett, Study Coordinator
Purpose of Study 

Atrial fibrillation and heart failure are two common heart conditions that are associated with an increase in death and suffering. When both of these two conditions occur in a patient the patient's prognosis is poor. These patients have poor life quality and are frequently admitted to the hospital. The treatment of atrial fibrillation in heart failure patients is extremely challenging. Two options for managing the atrial fibrillation are permitting the atrial fibrillation to continue but controlling the heart rate, or to convert the atrial fibrillation rhythm back to normal and try to maintain the heart in sinus rhythm. Until now, the method to keep the patient in normal sinus rhythm is with antiarrhythmic drugs. Studies using antiarrhythmic drugs to control the rhythm failed to show any survival benefit when compared with permitting the patient to be in atrial fibrillation. In the last few years, new development in techniques and technologies now enable catheter ablation (cauterization of tissue in the heart with a catheter) to be a successful treatment in abolishing atrial fibrillation and that this approach is better than antiarrhythmic drug to control the rhythm. However, there has not been any long-term study to determine whether catheter ablation to abolish atrial fibrillation in heart failure patients would reduce mortality or admissions for heart failure.

This study is to compare the effect of catheter ablation-based atrial fibrillation rhythm control to rate control in patients with heart failure and high burden atrial fibrillation on the composite endpoint of all-cause mortality and hospitalization for heart failure defined as an admission to a health care facility for > 24 hours. The investigators will also be assessing the cost-effectiveness of this treatment strategy and the life quality for these patients. This study may have a dramatic impact on the way the investigators manage these patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure and may improve the outlook and well being of these patients.


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