Invention Library

Drug Therapy to Rapidly and Safely Correct Cardiac Arrhythmia

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice. AF patients exhibit increased risks for heart attacks, heart failure, hospitalization, and death. AF is increasing in prevalence, with up to 15.1M cases estimated annually by 2050 in the USA. This increase is in large part due to aging of the general population and prolongation of lifespan.

Drugs used currently to restore normal heart rhythm in an AF patient have variable efficacy in different individuals. Further, there are adverse risks associated with their use, including risks of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Accordingly, safer and more effective therapeutic strategies to correct AF are needed.

Through research into how heart beat is controlled, LIMR scientists have discovered a way to better manage AF. Specifically, they discovered that gently elevating the level of potassium salts in blood, within the normal range, can dramatically improve the ability of an anti-AF drug to terminate AF rapidly and safely. A key feature of their discovery is a parallel reduction in the risks posed by some anti-AF drugs in triggering life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. The practical invention emerging from this discovery is a new combination drug treatment to improve clinical management of AF, namely, the addition of a potassium salt tablet to the approved anti-AF drug regimen.