Optimal timing of electrical cardioversion for acute decompensated heart failure caused by atrial arrhythmias: The earlier, the better?

Hidesato Fujito, Koichi Nagashima, Yuki Saito, Saki Mizobuchi, Katsunori Fukumoto, Yuji Wakamatsu, Riku Arai, Ryuta Watanabe, Nobuhiro Murata, Kazuto Toyama, Daisuke Kitano, Daisuke Fukamachi, Shunichi Yoda, Yasuo Okumura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The optimal timing for electrical cardioversion (ECV) in acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) with atrial arrhythmias (AAs) is unknown. Here, we retrospectively evaluated the impact of ECV timing on SR maintenance, hospitalization duration, and cardiac function in patients with ADHF and AAs. Between October 2017 and December 2022, ECV was attempted in 73 patients (62 with atrial fibrillation and 11 with atrial flutter). Patients were classified into two groups based on the median number of days from hospitalization to ECV, as follows: early ECV (within 8 days, n = 38) and delayed ECV (9 days or more, n = 35). The primary endpoint was very short-term and short-term ECV failure (unsuccessful cardioversion and AA recurrence during hospitalization and within one month after ECV). Secondary endpoints included (1) acute ECV success, (2) ECVs attempted, (3) periprocedural complications, (4) transthoracic echocardiographic parameter changes within two months following successful ECV, and (5) hospitalization duration. ECV successfully restored SR in 62 of 73 patients (85%), with 10 (14%) requiring multiple ECV attempts (≥ 3), and periprocedural complications occurring in six (8%). Very short-term and short-term ECV failure occurred without between-group differences (51% vs. 63%, P = 0.87 and 61% vs. 72%, P = 0.43, respectively). Among 37 patients who underwent echocardiography before and after ECV success, the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) significantly increased (38% [31–52] to 51% [39–63], P = 0.008) between admission and follow-up. Additionally, hospital stay length was shorter in the early ECV group than in the delayed ECV group (14 days [12–21] vs. 17 days [15–26], P < 0.001). Hospital stay duration was also correlated with days from admission to ECV (Spearman's ρ = 0.47, P < 0.001). In clinical practice, early ECV was associated with a shortened hospitalization duration and significantly increased LVEF in patients with ADHF and AAs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHeart and Vessels
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Atrial arrhythmias
  • Electrical cardioversion
  • Heart failure
  • Hospital stay


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