Rhythm Control Versus Rate Control and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: Results from the ORBIT-AF Registry

ORBIT-AF Investigators and Patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives The study sought to evaluate clinical outcomes in clinical practice with rhythm control versus rate control strategy for management of atrial fibrillation (AF). Background Randomized trials have not demonstrated significant differences in stroke, heart failure, or mortality between rhythm and rate control strategies. The comparative outcomes in contemporary clinical practice are not well described. Methods Patients managed with a rhythm control strategy targeting maintenance of sinus rhythm were retrospectively compared with a strategy of rate control alone in a AF registry across various U.S. practice settings. Unadjusted and adjusted (inverse-propensity weighted) outcomes were estimated. Results The overall study population (N = 6,988) had a median of 74 (65 to 81) years of age, 56% were males, 77% had first detected or paroxysmal AF, and 68% had CHADS2 score ≥2. In unadjusted analyses, rhythm control was associated with lower all-cause death, cardiovascular death, first stroke/non-central nervous system systemic embolization/transient ischemic attack, or first major bleeding event (all p < 0.05); no difference in new onset heart failure (p = 0.28); and more frequent cardiovascular hospitalizations (p = 0.0006). There was no difference in the incidence of pacemaker, defibrillator, or cardiac resynchronization device implantations (p = 0.99). In adjusted analyses, there were no statistical differences in clinical outcomes between rhythm control and rate control treated patients (all p > 0.05); however, rhythm control was associated with more cardiovascular hospitalizations (hazard ratio: 1.24; 95% confidence interval: 1.10 to 1.39; p = 0.0003). Conclusions Among patients with AF, rhythm control was not superior to rate control strategy for outcomes of stroke, heart failure, or mortality, but was associated with more cardiovascular hospitalizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-229
Number of pages9
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • antiarrhythmic drugs
  • atrial fibrillation
  • rate control
  • rhythm control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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