Effect of dronedarone vs. placebo on atrial fibrillation progression: a post hoc analysis from ATHENA trial

Carina Blomström-Lundqvist, Gerald V. Naccarelli, David S. McKindley, Gregory Bigot, Mattias Wieloch, Stefan H. Hohnloser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


AIMS: This post hoc analysis of the ATHENA trial (NCT00174785) assessed the effect of dronedarone on the estimated burden of atrial fibrillation (AF)/atrial flutter (AFL) progression to presumed permanent AF/AFL, and regression to sinus rhythm (SR), compared with placebo. METHODS AND RESULTS: The burden of AF/AFL was estimated by a modified Rosendaal method using available electrocardiograms (ECG). Cumulative incidence of permanent AF/AFL (defined as ≥6 months of AF/AFL until end of study) or permanent SR (defined as ≥6 months of SR until end of study) were calculated using Kaplan-Meier estimates. A log-rank test was used to assess statistical significance. Hazard ratios (HRs) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using a Cox model, adjusted for treatment group. Of the 4439 patients included in this analysis, 2208 received dronedarone, and 2231 placebo. Baseline and clinical characteristics were well balanced between groups. Overall, 304 (13.8%) dronedarone-treated patients progressed to permanent AF/AFL compared with 455 (20.4%) treated with placebo (P < 0.0001). Compared with those receiving placebo, patients receiving dronedarone had a lower cumulative incidence of permanent AF/AFL (log-rank P < 0.001; HR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.56-0.75), a higher cumulative incidence of permanent SR (log-rank P < 0.001; HR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.09-1.29), and a lower estimated AF/AFL burden over time (P < 0.01 from Day 14 to Month 21). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that dronedarone could be a useful antiarrhythmic drug for early rhythm control due to less AF/AFL progression and more regression to SR vs. placebo, potentially reflecting reverse remodeling. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00174785.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-854
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 30 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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