Etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of atrial fibrillation: part 1.

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Etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of atrial fibrillation: part 1.

Cardiol Rev. 2008 Jul-Aug;16(4):181-8

Authors: Aronow WS

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with a higher incidence of mortality, stroke, and coronary events than is sinus rhythm. AF with a rapid ventricular rate may cause a tachycardia-related cardiomyopathy. Immediate direct-current cardioversion should be performed in patients with AF and acute myocardial infarction, chest pain due to myocardial ischemia, hypotension, severe heart failure, or syncope. Intravenous beta blockers, verapamil, or diltiazem may be given to immediately slow a very rapid ventricular rate in AF. An oral beta blocker, verapamil, or diltiazem should be used in persons with AF if a fast ventricular rate occurs at rest or during exercise despite digoxin. Amiodarone may be used in selected patients with symptomatic life-threatening AF refractory to other drugs. Digoxin should not be used to treat patients with paroxysmal AF. Nonpharmacologic therapies should be used in patients with symptomatic AF in whom a rapid ventricular rate cannot be slowed by drugs. This is part 1 of a 2-part review of the etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of atrial fibrillation. The second part will be published in the subsequent issue of Cardiology in Review.

PMID: 18562808 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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