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The epidemiology of atrial fibrillation 

The epidemiology of atrial fibrillation
Chapter:
The epidemiology of atrial fibrillation
Source:
Management of Atrial Fibrillation (Oxford Cardiology Library): A Practical Approach
Author(s):

Christopher McLeod

and Bernard J. Gersh

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199686315.003.0001

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained rhythm abnormality and presents as paroxysmal and persistent forms. It is also one of the most common cardiovascular diseases and a major cause of stroke in developed countries, and constitutes a significant public health problem. This arrhythmia does occur in isolation, yet it is more commonly seen in conjunction with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnoea, and obesity. In association with these co-morbidities, the presence of AF is associated with an increase in mortality, but moreover distinctly affects quality of life and leads to numerous emergency room visits and hospitalizations. The prevalence of AF is expected to rise considerably as the population ages. Current estimates suggest that this condition accounts for 1% of the National Health Service budget in the United Kingdom and US$16-26 billion of annual Medicare expenditure in the United States.

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