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Clinical Trials at SVS

From time to time, SVS will be participating in a veterinary clinical trial. At this time, we are a proud partner with Colorado State University in a clinical trial for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation. Qualifying patients will receive treatment and monitoring at a reduced cost.

Information for Atrial Fibrillation Clinical Trial

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Pictured is a patient undergoing cardioversion. A brief electrical stimulus is delivered to the outside of the chest while the patient is under anesthesia. The stimulus travels to the heart to restore normal sinus rhythm. Cardioversion is an outpatient procedure and requires only 10-15 minutes of anesthesia.

Study Name: Efficacy of Ranolazine for Preventing Relapse of Atrial Fibrillation in Dogs with Heart Disease

Study Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common heart rhythm abnormality (arrhythmia) in dogs. This arrhythmia affects all dog breeds and frequently coexists with heart failure (HF) causing worsening of HF and high mortality. AF may be managed by administering drugs to slow heart rate or by restoring normal rhythm (cardioversion). Slowing rate often does not provide adequate relief and may accelerate progression of HF. Cardioversion safely restores normal rhythm and mitigates HF in less than 80% of affected dogs. However, owners often decline cardioversion because of possible relapse of AF despite routine use of the antiarrhythmic agent, amiodarone. Ranolazine is a pharmaceutical agent marketed for people with coronary heart disease; however, this drug has significant anti-AF effects. Combined administration of ranolazine and amiodarone provides greater suppression of AF in humans and research dogs than either drug alone.

Ranolazine also improves contraction of heart muscle in dogs with experimental HF. Ranolazine lacks significant adverse effects and can be safely administered to dogs with HF. We will determine whether ranolazine, given with amiodarone, prolongs normal rhythm after cardioversion compared to amiodarone alone and whether ranolazine also improves heart function. Dogs with naturally occurring AF and HF will be studied. After cardioversion, dogs will receive either amiodarone/placebo or amiodarone/ranolazine in a randomized, blinded manner. Duration of normal rhythm and measurements of heart function over time will be compared between groups. Results will validate combined ranolazine/amiodarone administration as an improved new treatment for AF in dogs with HF.

Study Purpose: The hypothesis of this research is that co-administration of ranolazine and amiodarone is superior to administration of amiodarone alone for maintaining sinus rhythm (SR) after restoration of SR in dogs with AF secondary to structural heart disease. The primary objective is to compare the duration of SR following cardioversion of AF in dogs receiving ranolazine and amiodarone to those receiving only amiodarone. A secondary goal is to evaluate potential beneficial effects of ranolazine on non-invasive parameters of left ventricular (LV) function and remodeling in dogs with AF and structural heart disease.

Financial Incentives: Follow-up examinations, electrocardiograms (ECGs), and echocardiograms pertaining to the study will be paid for by the study. The study drug will also be paid for by the study.

Owner Responsibilities: You are responsible for the cost of diagnosing atrial fibrillation and underlying structural heart disease in your pet (approximately $450). Baseline blood work and x-rays are also needed, which can be performed by your primary care veterinarian. You are responsible for the cost of cardioversion (approximately $800). You are also responsible for any heart medications your pet may need, excluding the drug being studied.

Patient Preparation: All patients enrolled in the trial must have baseline thoracic radiographs (right lateral and DV or VD) and blood work (CBC and serum biochemistry profile) performed. If these tests are performed at your primary veterinary clinic, we would greatly appreciate access to the results as soon as possible. Radiographs can be sent with client or emailed to sscruggs@svsfl.com. Blood work can be sent with client, emailed to sscruggs@svsfl.com, or faxed to 239-947-0598 (ATTN: DR. SCRUGGS). Thank you!

The first step to enrollment is for your patient and their owner to meet with our cardiologist, Dr. Sarah Scruggs. To schedule a consultation, please call 239-947-0588. If you have any questions prior to consultation, please email Dr. Scruggs at sscruggs@svsfl.com.