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Clinical Articles, News & Views

AFNET–EAST reaches 1,000 patients enrolled

The 1,000th patient has been enrolled in the AFNET-EAST trial, according to a recent statement. Conducted by the German association Kompetenznetz Vorhofflimmern e.V. (AFNET e.V.) in cooperation with the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), the trial compares two different treatment strategies in atrial fibrillation (AF). EAST exemplifies the added value of independent investigator initiated trials (IIT) for clinical progress. Many questions which are important for medical care, such as the relevance of early rhythm control therapy, will not be addressed by commercial trials.

EAST trial compares early rhythm control therapy to usual care

The EAST trial evaluates whether an early restoration of the sinus heart rhythm, in addition to anticoagulation, can prevent complications more effectively than usual care. Since summer 2011, over 1,000 of the 2,810 scheduled patients have been enrolled in 11 European countries. More than 100 hospitals and practices are participating in patient recruitment.

The study patients are randomised to either receive “early rhythm control therapy” or “usual care”. Usual care is consistent with the therapy recommended by the current guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). In the early rhythm control therapy group, this “usual care” is supplemented by every available method needed to stop atrial fibrillation as early as possible and to restore and maintain the normal heart rhythm throughout the study duration.

Professor Paulus Kirchhof, principal investigator and coordinator of the trial, explained: “Many cardiologists are convinced, as I am, that patients can benefit from the preservation of sinus rhythm. But we do not have data from controlled trials to suggest that rhythm control therapy will help to prevent complications associated with AF. That is why we are conducting the EAST trial. The direct comparison of both treatment concepts will reveal the benefit of maintaining sinus rhythm.”

AFNET e.V. bears overall responsibility of investigator initiated trials

AFNET e.V. has initiated the EAST trial in cooperation with the EHRA and bears the overall responsibility of the trial. For the conduct of the trial, AFNET e.V. relies on financial support that is provided by the companies Sanofi and St. Jude Medical.

The question investigated in the EAST trial arose from clinical practice, as in many IITs. The trial only attempts to provide knowledge and is not driven by marketing or approval interests: all drugs and devices used in the trial have been approved and are used within their approved indication. The result will help to optimise care of patients with AF in different health care systems. Patients benefit from the fact that established treatment concepts are continuously being tested and improved by IITs.

Published on: November 20, 2013

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

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