Background: Amiodarone is the most effective antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) for atrial fibrillation (AF), but it has a high incidence of adverse effects. Methods: Using the ORBIT AF registry, patients with AF on amiodarone at enrollment, prescribed amiodarone during follow-up, or never on amiodarone were analyzed for the proportion treated with a guideline-based indication for amiodarone, the variability in amiodarone use across sites, and the outcomes (mortality, hospitalization, and stroke) among patients treated with amiodarone. Hierarchical logistic regression modeling with site-specific random intercepts compared rates of amiodarone use across 170 sites. A logistic regression model for propensity to receive amiodarone created a propensity-matched cohort. Cox proportional hazards modeling, stratified by matched pairs evaluated the association between amiodarone and outcomes. Results: Among 6,987 AF patients, 867 (12%) were on amiodarone at baseline and 451 (6%) started on incident amiodarone during the 3-year follow-up. Use of amiodarone varied among sites from 3% in the lowest tertile to 21% in the highest (p<0.0001). Among those treated, 32% had documented contraindications to other AADs or had failed another AAD in the past. Mortality, cardiovascular hospitalization, and stroke were similar among matched patients on and not on amiodarone at baseline, while incident amiodarone use in matched patients was associated with higher all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 2.06, 95% CI 1.35-3.16). Conclusions: Use of amiodarone among AF patients in community practice is highly variable. More than 2 out of 3 patients treated with amiodarone appeared to be eligible for a different AAD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine