Inclusion Criteria1. Recent-onset AF (≤ 1 year prior to enrolment)
2. At least one ECG within recent 12 months that documents AF whereas the AF episode must last longer than 30 sec.
3. One of the following:
- age > 75 years or
- prior stroke or transient ischemic attack
OR two of the following:
- age > 65 years,
- female sex,
- arterial hypertension (chronic treatment for hypertension, estimated need for continuous antihypertensive therapy or resting blood pressure > 145/90 mmHg),
- diabetes mellitus (treated by drugs or insulin) or impaired glucose tolerance
- severe coronary artery disease (previous myocardial infarction, CABG or PCI)
- stable heart failure (NYHA II or LVEF <50%),
- left ventricular hypertrophy on echocardiography (more than 15 mm wall thickness),
- chronic kidney disease (MDRD stage III or IV),
- peripheral artery disease.
4. Provision of signed informed consent.
5. Age ≥ 18 years.
Exclusion Criteria1. Any disease that limits life expectancy to less than 1 year.
2. Participation in another clinical trial, either within the past two months or ongoing
3. Previous participation in the EAST trial.
4. Pregnant women or women of childbearing potential not on adequate birth control: only women with a highly effective method of contraception [oral contraception or intra-uterine device (IUD)] or sterile women can be randomized.
5. Breastfeeding women.
6. Drug abuse.
7. Prior AF ablation or surgical therapy of AF.
8. Previous therapy failure on amiodarone, e.g. patients who suffered from symptomatic recurrent AF that required escalation of therapy while on amiodarone.
9. Patients not suitable for rhythm control of AF.
10. Severe mitral valve stenosis.
11. Prosthetic mitral valve.
12. Clinically relevant hepatic dysfunction requiring specific therapy.
13. Clinically manifest thyroid dysfunction requiring therapy. After successful treatment of thyroid dysfunction, patients may be enrolled when their thyroid function is controlled.
14. Severe renal dysfunction (stage V, requiring or almost requiring dialysis).