Avoiding permanent atrial fibrillation: treatment approaches to prevent disease progression

Ashish Shukla, Anne B Curtis
Vascular Health and Risk Management 2014, 10: 1-12
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia and a major global public health problem due to its associated morbidity, including stroke and heart failure, diminished quality of life, and increased mortality. AF often presents initially in a paroxysmal form and may progress to a more sustained form over time. Evidence from randomized controlled trials suggests that there may be no mortality benefit to using a rhythm control approach in comparison with rate control of AF. Nevertheless, sustained forms of AF may be associated with increased symptoms and cardiovascular morbidity, and consequently they remain an additional target for therapy. The present review evaluates the clinical correlates of arrhythmia progression and risk stratification techniques available to assess probability of AF progression. Further, currently available management options for arrhythmia control in AF are evaluated and their therapeutic effect and efficacy on disease progression are explored.

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