Development of a Care Pathway for Atrial Fibrillation Patients in the Emergency Department

Link to article at PubMed

Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2022 Sep 1;21(3):105-113. doi: 10.1097/HPC.0000000000000289. Epub 2022 Apr 25.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and its prevalence is continuously increasing in the United States, leading to a progressive rise in the number of disease-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. Although optimal long-term outpatient management for AF is well defined, the guidelines for optimal ED management of acute AF episodes is less clear. Studies have demonstrated that discharging patients with AF from the ED after acute stabilization is both safe and cost effective; however, the majority of these patients in the United States and in our institution are admitted to the hospital. To improve care of these patients, we established a multidisciplinary collaboration to develop an evidence-based systematic approach for the treatment and management of AF in the ED, that led to the creation of the University of California-Cardioversion, Anticoagulation, Rate Control, Expedited Follow-up/Education Atrial Fibrillation Pathway. Our pathway focuses on the acute stabilization of AF, adherence to best practices for anticoagulation, and reduction in unnecessary admissions through discharge from the ED with expedited outpatient follow-up whenever safe. A novel aspect of our pathway is that it is primarily driven by the ED physicians, while other published protocols primarily involve consulting cardiologists to guide management in the ED. Our protocol is very pertinent considering the current trend toward increased AF prevalence in the United States, coupled with a need for widespread implementation of strategies aimed at improving management of these patients while safely reducing hospital admissions and the economic burden of AF.

PMID:35994718 | DOI:10.1097/HPC.0000000000000289

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