Atrial natriuretic peptide response to cardioversion of atrial flutter and fibrillation and role of associated heart failure

Am J Cardiol. 1991 Feb 15;67(5):377-80. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(91)90045-m.


Plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) concentrations were measured before and 1 hour after cardioversion in 40 patients (27 with atrial flutter and 13 with atrial fibrillation) admitted for elective cardioversion. Fourteen (11 with atrial flutter and 3 with atrial fibrillation) had clinical evidence of congestive heart failure (CHF). Conversion to sinus rhythm was successful in 39 patients. The mean ANP concentration in the entire group decreased after cardioversion from 38 +/- 4 to 17 +/- 2 pmol/liter (p less than 0.001). In the subgroup with CHF, the ANP level, which was not significantly higher than that in the group without CHF, decreased from 47 +/- 8 to 19 +/- 3 pmol/liter (p less than 0.01). Neither mode of cardioversion (spontaneous 1, pharmacologic 2 and direct-current countershock 36) nor associated CHF influenced ANP response to cardioversion. One patient with atrial flutter and "failed cardioversion" had unchanged ANP level. The decrease after cardioversion in ANP concentration correlated with its control level (r = 0.88, p less than 0.001) but not with the decrease in heart rate. The ANP level in patients with atrial fibrillation was 45 +/- 9 vs 38 +/- 5 pmol/liter in those with atrial flutter (difference not significant). Arrhythmia duration, left atrial size, and ventricular rate or arterial blood pressure did not correlate with ANP concentration in any subgroup. It is concluded that (1) the ANP level is elevated comparably in patients with both atrial flutter and fibrillation regardless of the presence or absence of CHF; and (2) the level decreases, independent of the mode of cardioversion or presence of CHF, promptly after successful cardioversion.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / blood
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy*
  • Atrial Flutter / blood
  • Atrial Flutter / complications
  • Atrial Flutter / therapy*
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / blood*
  • Electric Countershock*
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / blood*
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor