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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 44

of 'Acquired long QT syndrome'

Efficacy and safety of quinidine therapy for maintenance of sinus rhythm after cardioversion. A meta-analysis of randomized control trials.
Coplen SE, Antman EM, Berlin JA, Hewitt P, Chalmers TC
Circulation. 1990;82(4):1106.
Because individual studies evaluating the role of quinidine in the maintenance of sinus rhythm after cardioversion from chronic atrial fibrillation have involved relatively few patients, a meta-analysis of randomized control trials was performed. Six trials published between 1970 and 1984 were selected by two blinded reviewers based on study design and statistical analysis. Data from these six trials involving 808 patients were pooled after testing for homogeneity of treatment effects across trials. Life table estimates of the percent of patients still in sinus rhythm at 3, 6, and 12 months after cardioversion were constructed for quinidine and control groups. The proportion of patients remaining in sinus rhythm in the quinidine group was 69%, 58%, and 50% at 3, 6, and 12 months postcardioversion respectively. The proportion of patients remaining in sinus rhythm in the control group was 45%, 33%, and 25% at the same time intervals. The pooled rate difference, or difference in proportion of patients in sinus rhythm between quinidine and control groups, was 24%, 23%, and 24% at 3, 6, and 12 months of follow-up (p less than 0.001 at all time intervals). The unadjusted total mortality rate in the quinidine-treated patients was 2.9% and in the control group was 0.8%. The odds of dying in the quinidine-treated group were approximately three times that of the control group ("typical" odds ratio = 2.98, p less than 0.05). Thus, quinidine treatment is more effective than no antiarrhythmic therapy in suppressing recurrences of atrial fibrillation but appears to be associated with increased total mortality.
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.