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Non-pharmacologic management of atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice today. Contemporary medical treatment options include atrioventricular nodal blocking agents to control heart rates during AF, antiarrhythmic drugs aimed at maintaining normal sinus rhythm, and anticoagulation therapies to reduce stroke risk. Invasive treatment of AF has emerged because of the toxicities and lack of long-term efficacy of available antiarrhythmic medications along with the lack of improvement in symptoms for rate-controlled patients. The investigators review the evolution of the current catheter-delivered AF procedures, starting with surgical maze up to and including left atrial appendage occlusion devices. Individual catheter ablation targets, anatomic and electrophysiologic, are discussed, with a particular focus on the use of an incremental ablation target strategy dependent on the type of AF being treated. In conclusion, the history of invasive AF therapy provides a basic understanding of contemporary ablation strategies and a backdrop for the cutting-edge rhythm and stroke prevention therapies of today.

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