Implementing vernakalant: a novel approach to cardioversion
Evidence & Practice    

Implementing vernakalant: a novel approach to cardioversion

Angela Hall Arrhythmia nurse specialist, Jersey General Hospital, St Helier, Jersey

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia, and there is a one in four lifetime risk of developing the condition for people who are over the age of 40. Vernakalant, a new addition to intravenous antiarrhythmic drugs for cardioversion of AF, is the first atrial-specific antiarrhythmic drug for pharmacological cardioversion of recent onset AF and is more effective than placebo and amiodarone.

The drug offers patients an alternative to other pharmacological agents for chemical cardioversion and avoids the risks associated with electrical cardioversion. Its main advantage is rapid conversion of AF, which potentially reduces atrial remodelling and it can be used in patients with little or no underlying cardiovascular disease and in those with moderate disease such as stable coronary and hypertensive heart disease. Post-marketing and clinical trials suggest a favourable rate of conversion to sinus rhythm.

Jersey General Hospital was the first in the UK to obtain and introduce the drug in practice.

This article describes the evidence and guidelines for its use and the local implementation process.

Emergency Nurse. 27, 1, 14-20. doi: 10.7748/en.2018.e1902


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


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Angela Hall was the

2018 RCNi Nurse of the Year. This article describes part of her award-winning work. To enter the 2019 RCNi Nurse Awards go to