EAST – AFNET 4 trial has enrolled 2500 patients
The pan-European clinical trial “Early treatment of atrial fibrillation for stroke prevention trial (EAST)” investigates whether early rhythm control therapy can prevent strokes and deaths in atrial fibrillation patients. Today the 2500th patient was enrolled.
Several million people in Europe, representing 1 to 2 percent of the population, suffer from atrial fibrillation (AF). Despite a wider use of anticoagulation, patients suffering from AF remain at high risk of stroke, heart failure, and premature death.
The Atrial Fibrillation NETwork (AFNET) therefore conducts the EAST – AFNET 4 trial to further improve the management of patients with recently diagnosed AF. EAST – AFNET 4 aims to further reduce the residual cardiovascular risk in anticoagulated AF patients treated according to the current guidelines. The trial investigates whether an early rhythm control therapy, on top of anticoagulation and rate control treatment, prevents severe complications in patients with AF when compared to the usual care.
To date there is no definitive evidence that rhythm control therapy has a true positive influence on the course of disease in the individual patient. Nevertheless, many cardiologists are convinced that patients will benefit from preservation of sinus rhythm, if antiarrhythmic drugs or catheter ablation are used in an early stage, when AF has not yet caused irreversible atrial damage. For this reason EAST – AFNET 4 enrolls only patients with recent onset atrial fibrillation.
More than 100 hospitals and practices in 11 European countries participate in the EAST – AFNET 4 trial. So far, the study has enrolled 2500 of the 2745 patients planned to take part. The end of patient enrolment is expected later in this year.
AFNET initiated the trial in cooperation with the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) and bears the overall responsibility of the trial. The coordinating investigators are the four cardiologists Prof. Paulus Kirchhof, Birmingham, UK, and Münster, Germany, Prof. Günter Breithardt, Münster, Germany, Prof. Harry Crijns, Maastricht, The Netherlands, and Prof. John Camm, London, UK. Financial support for the conduct of the trial is provided by the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) and the German Heart Foundations as well as by Sanofi and St. Jude Medical.
Further Information about EAST – AFNET 4