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Atrial fibrillation 

Atrial fibrillation
Chapter:
Atrial fibrillation
Author(s):

Gheorghe-Andrei Dan

, and Jan Steffel

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198759935.003.0011
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date: 17 October 2019

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the commonest cardiac arrhythmia in hopspitalized patients, with an increasing incidence with age and an epidemic increase projected for the next 10 years. Therapy of AF has several goals: to decrease mortality (mainly due to cardiovascular diseases), stroke rate, ventricular deterioration and heart failure, cognitive impairment, and dementia, as well as to increase quality of life. The recent European AF guidelines specify the management strategies for each of the above-mentioned goals. For stroke prevention, treatment with a non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant (NOAC) has emerged as the therapy of choice for the majority of patients with AF in the absence of rheumatic mitral disease and mechanical valve prostheses. However, in daily use of these drugs, many challenges remain that healthcare providers need to be aware of. Regarding treatment of the arrhythmia itself, it remains a therapy addressing the quality of life. Catheter ablation has emerged as a valid alternative for a variety of patients. Nevertheless, pharmacological antiarrhythmic drug therapy remains an important pillar for the majority of patients, and effective and safe use implies an important skill for every cardiologist.

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