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Int J Cardiol. 1995 Mar 3;48(3):271-8.

Presentation and management of patients admitted with atrial fibrillation: a review of 291 cases in a regional hospital.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital.


Two hundred and ninety one patients admitted with atrial fibrillation through the emergency room of a regional hospital in the year 1993 were reviewed to evaluate the presenting features and in-hospital treatment of patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation. The incidence of atrial fibrillation increased with age (mean age was 73 +/- 12 years) and the ratio of female to male was 1.8:1. The commonest presenting features were palpitation (42.3%), dyspnoea (38.1%) and heart failure (16.4%). The most frequently associated cardiac conditions were hypertension (28.9%), atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (24.7%) and rheumatic heart disease (17.5%). Pulmonary diseases (18.6%), diabetes mellitus (12.7%) and thyrotoxicosis (6.2%) were the principal associated non-cardiac conditions. Thromboembolic complications were found in 15 patients at presentation (5.2%). Cardiac enzyme assessment was investigated in two thirds of the patients (68.1%), while thyroid function test (59.5%) and echocardiography (29.6%) were less commonly investigated. Digoxin was still the most popular drug used for ventricular rate control, and cardioversion was performed in only 6.9% of patients. Antithrombotic therapy was used in 5.8% of patients only although it was clinically indicated in more than half of the patients (52%). Contraindications of anticoagulation were found in 23 patients (7.9%), including a history of gastrointestinal or cerebrovascular bleeding, active bleeding, chronic renal failure and poor drug compliance. The mean hospital stay was 5 +/- 4 days, compared to a mean stay of 2.7 days for other medical patients. Fourteen patients (4.8%) died during hospitalisation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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