Future perspectives in the pharmacological treatment of atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmias in heart failure

Curr Pharm Des. 2015;21(8):1011-29. doi: 10.2174/1381612820666141029101305.


Heart failure (HF) is a clinical syndrome characterized by significant impairment of cardiac ventricular function. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most commonly observed sustained arrhythmia in clinical practice. Both HF and AF are associated with increased morbidity and mortality and their prevalence increases with age. Approximately 50% of patients with moderate HF die due to ventricular fibrillation that leads to sudden cardiac death. Patients with AF exhibit increased mortality due to HF and stroke. HF and AF often co-exist, and the development of the other condition further deteriorates prognosis. Both chronic HF and AF lead to structural and electrophysiological changes in the heart called remodeling, modifying therapeutic targets including those for antiarrhythmic intervention. Current pharmacological treatment of arrhythmias has major limitations due to low efficacy and serious adverse effects. In this review, the main aspects of electrical remodeling in HF and AF are discussed along with possible novel targets identified for future pharmacological antiarrhythmic therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Humans
  • Ventricular Function / drug effects
  • Ventricular Remodeling / drug effects
  • Ventricular Remodeling / physiology


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents