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Can J Cardiol. 2011 Jan-Feb;27(1):31-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2010.11.015.

Canadian Cardiovascular Society atrial fibrillation guidelines 2010: etiology and initial investigations.

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Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The initial evaluation of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) should include a comprehensive history, physical examination, and initial investigations. The initial evaluation of patients with AF has several important purposes, including the identification of the etiology of AF, particularly the identification of reversible causes of AF; the description of the pattern of AF; the assessment of the degree of symptomatic impairment due to AF; the assessment of the thromboembolic risk of the patient; and the identification of common comorbidities. Additional investigations may then be undertaken, with the decision guided by the initial evaluation. A comprehensive and systematic initial evaluation forms the foundation for a patient-specific plan for the management of AF.

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