Monday, August 26, 2013

Adverse Outcomes from Atrial Fibrillation; Mechanisms, Risks, and Insights Learned from Therapeutic Options

Citation : David L. Johnson, PA-C, John D. Day, Srijoy Mahapatra, T. Jared Bunch

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) continues to increase in prevalence and its’ consequences and disease associations have a great impact on multiple aspects of medical practice. As such, making preventive strategies to minimize risk of the arrhythmia and its’ complications are paramount to improve quality of life, mortality, and limit medical resource utilization. To the extent that AF independently impacts adverse cardiovascular outcomes, this review article will focus on these outcomes, in particular heart failure (HF), stroke, and mortality, and discuss contemporary strategies for treatment.

Conclusions: AF has a marked deleterious impact on the lives of patients. This impact can be accelerated when other cardiac diseases coexist. Although rhythm control strategies have been an intriguing tool to reverse or minimize the adverse outcomes associate with AF, they have largely been unsuccessful. In general, failures of currently available AADs to improve survival are due to failure of the drug to maintain sinus rhythm and presence of drug toxicities. Early data with ablation approaches are favorable and support rhythm control strategies to minimize long-term risks associated with AF. However, most of the data stem from observational analysis or small randomized trials. Large randomized prospective trials will ultimately define the role of catheter ablation in the management of AF patients.

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