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Minerva Medica 2011 June;102(3):187-207

Copyright © 2011 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Atrial fibrillation: epidemiology, prognosis and therapy

Rutzen-Lopez H., VKhanna V., Reynolds M. R.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA


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Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac tachyarrhythmia encountered in clinical practice affecting 1% of the population. It is characterized by uncoordinated atrial activation that can lead to embolic complications and reduction in cardiac output resulting in significant morbidity, mortality and a reduction in quality of life. The three major goals in the management of atrial fibrillation are rate control, prevention of thromboembolism and correction of rhythm disturbance. This article will review up-to-date thinking about strategies for achieving each of these fundamental goals of AF care, with an emphasis on new drugs such as dabigatran and dronedarone and emerging non-pharmacologic therapies such as catheter ablation and left atrial appendage exclusion. After many years with relatively few new treatments, the past few years have seen a number of exciting developments which will hopefully improve clincian’s ability to improve the outcomes of patients with this chronic and troublesome condition.

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mreynold@bidmc.harvard.edu