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Am J Cardiol. 1996 Jan 25;77(3):24A-37A.

Atrial fibrillation: maintenance of sinus rhythm versus rate control.

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Department of Cardiological Sciences, St. George's Hospital and Medical School, London, United Kingdom.


Atrial fibrillation represents a common and challenging arrhythmia. A rational approach to management of the individual case depends on careful assessment of the temporal of the arrhythmia, any associated cardiovascular disease, and any particular features suggesting the advisability or risks of any particular treatment regimen. The nature of an arrhythmia and of individual patient factors change over time, requiring a flexible approach to long-term treatment that may be defined only after months or years. While new treatment options such as catheter ablation techniques and implantable atrial defibrillators are being tested, old therapies (e.g., low-dose amiodarone) are undergoing reappraisal. Increasing recognition of the dangers of antiarrhythmic therapy used to maintain sinus rhythm is focusing attention on nonpharmacologic methods. All patients with persistent atrial fibrillation merit serious consideration for direct current cardioversion before accepting that atrial fibrillation is permanent, and many patients may benefit from more than one attempt to restore and maintain sinus rhythm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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