Atrial Fibrillation

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Atrial Fibrillation

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1. Atrial Fibrillation October 10, 2005 MLK Clinic Lecture Series

2. Classification of A Fib Paroxysmal (ie, self-terminating). AF in which the episodes of AF generally last less than seven days (usually less than 24 hours) and may be recurrent. Persistent AF fails to self-terminate and lasts for longer than seven days. Persistent AF may also be paroxysmal if it recurs after reversion. AF is considered recurrent when the patient experiences two or more episodes. Permanent AF is considered to be present if the arrhythmia lasts for more than one year and cardioversion either has not been attempted or has failed. "Lone" AF describes paroxysmal, persistent, or permanent AF in individuals without structural heart disease.

3. EVALUATION History and physical examination Electrocardiogram CXR Echocardiogram Evaluation for hyperthyroidism Other Evaluation for CAD Holter monitoring for other arrythmias EPS studies

4. Treatment Principles Rate control vs rhythm control Rate control generally recommended Beta blockers CCB?s Digoxin not effective during exercise Anticoagulation Wafarin recommended ECASA if benefit of warfarin not clear Rhythm control Cardioversion EPS Antiarrythmics not recommended since higher risk of mortality

5. Rhythm Control Cardioversion Timing If >48 hours since onset of AF, anticoagulate for 3-4 weeks prior to electrical cardioversion May do TEE, if no thrombi, may anticoagulate for shorter period In unstable patients, do as soon as practicable Chemical cardioversion Some drugs shown to be effective Dofetilide, flecainide, ibutilide, propafenone, amiodarone Problems with pro-arrythmic characteristics

6. Approaches to Maintenance of NSR Antiarrythmics Only used when significant side effects on rate control Drugs most commonly used Amiodarone, propafenone, disopyramide, sotalol, flecainide, and quinidine Amiodarone may be the most effective but has significant side effects Cardioversion as needed

7. Maintenance of Rate Control May be the optimal therapy Goals Rest heart rate 80 beats/min 24-hour Holter average 100 beats/min and no heart rate >110 percent of the age-predicted maximum Heart rate 110 beats/min in six minute walk Reasons to avoid high rates in chronic AF Avoidance of hemodynamic instability and/or symptoms such as palpitations, heart failure, angina, lightheadedness, and poor exercise capacity Over the long-term, avoidance of a tachycardia-mediated cardiomyopathy Drugs Slow AV nodal conduction with a beta blocker, diltiazem, verapamil Patients with heart failure or hypotension, digoxin Amiodarone is also effective, although it is not used as a primary therapy for rate control

8. Rate control vs rhythm control AFFIRM and RACE trials showed superiority of rate control Embolic events occur with equal frequency regardless of whether a rate control or rhythm control strategy is pursued, and occur most often after warfarin has been stopped or when the INR is subtherapeutic Both studies showed an almost significant trend toward a lower incidence of the primary end point with rate control hazard ratio 0.87 for mortality in AFFIRM and 0.73 for a composite end point in RACE There was no difference in functional status or quality of life Rhythm control preferable if: Significant symptoms on rate control Inability to obtain rate control Patient preference

9. Anticoagulation Cardioversion If after 48 hours of onset, unknown onset, recent thromboembolism or mitral stenosis 4 weeks of anticoagulation first At least 4 weeks of anticoagulation after cardioversion, but preference is for chronic anticoagulation Target INR 2.5 Alternative is TEE first without anticoagulation 4 weeks is not required if onset less than 48 hours Controversial whether or not to anticoagulate after cardioversion, consensus is 4 weeks Some authorities use ASA after first episode and warfarin thereafter

10. Anticoagulation for Paroxysmal and Chronic AF CHADS score is well-validated test for decision as to type of anticoagulation (next slide) ?Patients with a CHADS2 score of 0 are at low risk for ischemic stroke or peripheral embolization (0.5 percent per year in the absence of warfarin) and can be managed with aspirin Patients with a CHADS2 score 3 are at high risk (5.3 to 6.9 percent per year) and should, in the absence of a contraindication, be treated with warfarin Patients with a CHADS2 score of 1 or 2 are at intermediate risk (1.5 to 2.5 percent per year). In this group, the choice between warfarin therapy and aspirin will depend upon many factors, including patient preference INR of 2.0-3.0 if warfarin used


12. Management of AF in ER New onset AF is usually reason for admission although in lower risk patients may treat as outpatient. Reasons for admission ?For the treatment of an associated medical problem, which is often the reason for the arrhythmia? For elderly patients who are more safely treated for AF in hospital For patients with underlying heart disease who have hemodynamic consequences from the AF or who are at risk for a complication resulting from therapy of the arrhythmia Indications for emergent cardioversion Active ischemia Significant hypotension, to which poor LV systolic function, diastolic dysfunction, or associated mitral or aortic valve disease may contribute Severe manifestations of HF The presence of a preexcitation syndrome, which may lead to an extremely rapid ventricular rate Rate control Digoxin is preferred only if HF Otherwise CCB or beta blocker is preferred

13. Subsequent Management

14. Long-term Outcome Prognosis is good in ?lone afib? Younger patients No other coexisting morbidities Higher risk features in which there is a higher risk of mortality Older age Coexisting CV disease Women

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