Metoprolol vs. diltiazem in the acute management of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction

Published:April 27, 2018DOI:



      The objective of this study was to examine the effects of metoprolol versus diltiazem in the acute management of atrial fibrillation (AF) with rapid ventricular response (RVR) in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).


      This retrospective cohort study of patients with HFrEF in AF with RVR receiving either intravenous push (IVP) doses of metoprolol or diltiazem was conducted between January 2012 and September 2016. The primary outcome was successful rate control within 30 min of medication administration, defined as a heart rate (HR) < 100 beats per minute or a HR reduction ≥ 20%. Secondary outcomes included rate control at 60 min, maximum median change in HR, and incidence of hypotension, bradycardia, or conversion to normal sinus rhythm within 30 min. Signs of worsening heart failure were also evaluated.


      Of the 48 patients included, 14 received metoprolol and 34 received diltiazem. The primary outcome, successful rate control within 30 min, occurred in 62% of the metoprolol group and 50% of the diltiazem group (p = 0.49). There was no difference in HR control at predefined time points or incidence of hypotension, bradycardia, or conversion. Although baseline HR varied between groups, maximum median change in HR did not differ. Signs of worsening heart failure were similar between groups.


      For the acute management of AF with RVR in patients with HFrEF, IVP diltiazem achieved similar rate control with no increase in adverse events when compared to IVP metoprolol.


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