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Nat Clin Pract Cardiovasc Med. 2009 Jan;6(1):46-56. doi: 10.1038/ncpcardio1414. Epub 2008 Dec 2.

Pathophysiology of concomitant atrial fibrillation and heart failure: implications for management.

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Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure (HF) are two conditions regularly encountered in clinical practice. They share many common risk factors, and are often seen concurrently in an individual patient. Global aging of the population is likely to lead to an increase in the prevalence of both AF and HF alone, as well as in their combined state. The relationship between these two diseases is not simply coincidental; clinical and experimental data have defined multiple pathophysiological mechanisms to explain how either condition contributes to the de novo development of the other. The development of AF in the setting of HF, and vice versa, is associated with clinical deterioration and worsening prognosis, which indicates the need for an improved understanding of the clinical and pathological relationships between these conditions. Future research on pharmacologic therapies, such as antiarrhythmic medications, and nonpharmacologic strategies including atrioventricular nodal ablation and pulmonary vein isolation, will help to define the optimal therapeutic approach for concurrent AF and HF. This step is vital to improve both the outcomes of patients affected by these conditions and the cost-effectiveness of their care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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