Non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers (CCB) are routinely used in the treatment of atrial fibrillation or flutter with rapid ventricular response (AFF with RVR) however, their use can be limited by drug induced hypotension. This drug induced hypotension limits and complicates CCB use in the treatment of AFF with RVR. Calcium pre-treatment with calcium channel blocker administration has been studied extensively with verapamil administration in preventing drug induced hypotension however, similar studies evaluating calcium pretreatment with diltiazem administration in the prevention of drug induced hypotension are limited.
The purpose of our study is to compare the relative efficacy and safety for calcium pretreatment with diltiazem in the treatment of AFF with RVR in preventing drug induced hypotension. This prospective, randomized double-blinded study will evaluate patients who present to the emergency department at Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC) with a diagnosis of AFF RVR with ventricular rate greater than or equal to 120 bpm from IRB approval to June 1, 2024. Via simple randomization, patients will be administered Calcium pre-treatment vs control prior to diltiazem administration. Calcium gluconate 1gm or 100 mL of normal saline will be administered as an intravenous infusion over 5 minutes followed by bolus diltiazem 0.25 mg/kg IV push (with a 20mg max) with repeat diltiazem bolus dose after 15 minutes if rate control not achieved 0.35mg/kg IV push. Calcium gluconate will not be administered with repeat doses of diltiazem. Weight-based dosing of diltiazem was most utilized, though some providers may elect to modify based on the clinical scenario. The primary outcome will be the mean difference in systolic blood pressure (SBP) evaluated at 5 and 15 minutes after administration of diltiazem bolus. Secondary outcomes include decrease in heart rate, conversion to sinus rhythm, and adverse effects of medication administered.
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