Items in AFP with MESH term: Atrial Fibrillation
ABSTRACT: Family physicians should be familiar with the acute management of atrial fibrillation and the initiation of chronic therapy for this common arrhythmia. Initial management should include hemodynamic stabilization, rate control, restoration of sinus rhythm, and initiation of antithrombotic therapy. Part II of this two-part article focuses on the prevention of thromboembolic complications using anticoagulation. Heparin is routinely administered before medical or electrical cardioversion. Warfarin is used in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation who are at higher risk for thromboembolic complications because of advanced age, history of coronary artery disease or stroke, or presence of left-sided heart failure. Aspirin is preferred in patients at low risk for thromboembolic complications and patients with a high risk for falls, a history of noncompliance, active bleeding, or poorly controlled hypertension. The recommendations provided in this article are consistent with guidelines published by the American Heart Association and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is the arrhythmia most commonly encountered in family practice. Serious complications can include congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, and thromboembolism. Initial treatment is directed at controlling the ventricular rate, most often with a calcium channel blocker, a beta blocker, or digoxin. Medical or electrical cardioversion to restore sinus rhythm is the next step in patients who remain in atrial fibrillation. Heparin should be administered to hospitalized patients undergoing medical or electrical cardioversion. Anticoagulation with warfarin should be used for three weeks before elective cardioversion and continued for four weeks after cardioversion. The recommendations provided in this two-part article are consistent with guidelines published by the American Heart Association and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
ABSTRACT: Digoxin therapy has long been used to treat heart failure; however, its effectiveness was not completely known until recently. Results of the Digitalis Investigation Group trial showed that adding digoxin to standard heart failure therapy had no effect on mortality. However, adding digoxin decreased hospitalizations related to heart failure and improved symptoms in patients treated for heart failure. Reanalyses of the trial's findings have raised new questions about the role of digoxin in heart failure treatment. These new analyses showed that low serum digoxin concentrations used in patients with more severe disease offered the most benefit. Digoxin use in women was associated with increased mortality risk. This finding should be interpreted with caution, however, because it was based on retrospective data, and the cause of this phenomenon has not been fully elucidated. Prospective clinical trials are needed to determine the serum digoxin concentration that is associated with the most clinical benefit and to determine the role of digoxin therapy for women. Digoxin generally does not have a role in the treatment of diastolic heart failure and is not a first-line therapy for managing atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure.
Oral Anticoagulants vs. Antiplatelet Therapy - Cochrane for Clinicians
ABSTRACT: Family physicians frequently encounter patients with symptoms that could be related to cardiac arrhythmias, most commonly atrial fibrillation or supraventricular tachycardias. The initial management of atrial fibrillation includes ventricular rate control to provide adequate cardiac output. In patients with severely depressed cardiac output and recent-onset atrial fibrillation, immediate electrical cardioversion is the treatment of choice. Hemodynamically stable patients with atrial fibrillation for more than two days or for an unknown period should be assessed for the presence of atrial thrombi. If thrombi are detected on transesophageal echocardiography, anticoagulation with warfarin for a minimum of 21 days is recommended before electrical cardioversion is attempted. Patients with other supraventricular arrhythmias may be treated with adenosine, a calcium channel blocker, or a short-acting beta blocker to disrupt reentrant pathways. When initial medications are ineffective, radiofrequency ablation of ectopic sites is an increasingly popular treatment option.
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Management of Newly Detected Atrial Fibrillation - Editorials