PATIENTS AND METHODS
Study patients: Between January 1991 and December 1994, patients referred from the out-patient clinic of the Central Clinical Hospital Medical Academy of Warsaw, Poland were evaluated for enrollment in this study. Entry criteria were age greater than 18 and less than 75 years; chronic, nonrheumatic AF; and duration of AF greater than one week.
Exclusion criteria were documented inefficiency, intolerance or contraindications to design antiarrhythmic drugs; thyrotoxicosis; pregnancy; myocardial infarction within six months; acute myocarditis; uncompensated heart failure (New York Heart Association functional class III); hypertension of diastolic blood pressure (115 mmHg); known pulmonary hypertension; unstable hepatic or renal function; amiodarone therapy within the past 12 months; and patients with sick sinus syndrome, bundle branch block, QT prolongation (ie, corrected QT greater than 0.45 s) or bradycardia of less than 50 beats/min after DC cardioversion.
Informed consent was obtained before beginning either study agent, using a protocol approved by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risks at the Medical Academy of Warsaw.
All patients were receiving anticoagulants at the time of electrical cardioversion, either orally administered coumarin derivatives in patients who required long term anticoagulation therapy or low weight calcium heparin to maintain partial thromboplastin time two to three times the control value for at least 72 h before cardioversion. Anticoagulant therapy was continued at least three weeks after successful cardioversion.
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