Last updated on August 2019

First Line Radiofrequency Ablation Versus Antiarrhythmic Drugs for Persistent Atrial Fibrillation Treatment (RAAFT-3)


Brief description of study

The purpose of this study is to determine if catheter-based atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation is superior to treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs as a first-line therapy for symptomatic persistent AF.

Detailed Study Description

The burden of atrial fibrillation (AF) on Western countries healthcare systems is steadily increasing, with over 2 million Americans and 4 million Europeans affected by this condition. It is by far the most common sustained arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice, with a striking impact on morbidity and mortality. Achieving a definite cure is highly desirable, as this would have profound social and economic implication. In patients with drug-refractory paroxysmal AF, multiple clinical trials have established the superiority of catheter ablation over further antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) therapy for the long-term maintenance of sinus rhythm, to improve quality of life, and reduce hospitalizations. Recent randomized controlled trials have also demonstrated a beneficial role of catheter ablation as a first-line therapy in patients with paroxysmal AF, with significantly better arrhythmia control and improved quality of life compared to AAD therapy. Patients with symptomatic persistent AF represent a more challenging group to treat, given the overall lower success rate of catheter ablation procedures in this group of patients. Pharmacologic rhythm-control strategies are also less effective in persistent AF, with a substantially increased economic burden given the repeat admissions for electrical cardioversions and AAD initiation/titration. In patients with symptomatic persistent AF who have already failed AADs, catheter ablation has been shown superior to further AAD therapy for sinus rhythm restoration in a recent randomized controlled trial. However, the value of an upstream adoption of catheter ablation for the treatment of symptomatic persistent AF (i.e., before a trial with AADs) is unknown. The purpose of the third Radiofrequency Ablation vs Antiarrhythmic Drugs for Atrial Fibrillation Treatment (RAAFT-3) trial is to determine whether catheter ablation is superior to AAD as a first-line therapy in patients with persistent AF who had not been exposed to antiarrhythmic treatment.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT04037397

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Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

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University of Pennsylvania

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