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Postgrad Med. 2011 Nov;123(6):7-20. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2011.11.2491.

Update on the clinical management of atrial fibrillation: guidelines and beyond.

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University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14215, USA.


In clinical practice, atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most commonly encountered arrhythmia. With the aging of the US population, the number of patients with AF that physicians encounter will increase. Atrial fibrillation management involves a combination of rate- and rhythm-control strategies with thromboprophylaxis, a complicated endeavor given side effect profiles of treatments, patient comorbidities, and anticoagulation treatment requirements. Early treatment discontinuation and poor compliance with anticoagulation treatment are frequent and result in increased mortality, a 5-fold increased risk of ischemic stroke, decreased health-related quality of life, and decreased exercise capacity. In 2006, the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association/European Society of Cardiology (ACC/AHA/ESC) provided guidelines for the management of patients with AF. Recently, the ACC Foundation, AHA, and Heart Rhythm Society released updates to these guidelines (January and February 2011). This article aims to assist physicians in improving the management of patients with AF by focusing on the main components of therapy as reflected in the guidelines, and by providing an update on new US Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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