Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the commonest sustained cardiac arrhythmia, and has a significant impact on morbidity and mortality. Treatment is tailored to the individual. This article will review the rhythm-management strategies for patients with atrial fibrillation, and discuss the roles of secondary and tertiary care.
The majority (84%) of people with AF are over the age of 65 years. In the UK, the prevalence of AF is 7.2% for patients aged 65 and over. AF is a particularly important risk factor for stroke in the elderly. 15% of all strokes are associated with the arrhythmia, increasing to 36% in people over the age of 80. The prevalence of AF is higher in men at all ages, although the overall number of patients with AF is approximately equal between the sexes because of unequal death rates. In overall terms, approximately 50% of patients with AF are 75 or over, and over half of these are women.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the commonest sustained arrhythmia, affecting 1.2% of the population, which equates to more than 600,000 people in England. The prevalence of AF increases with age, with 8.4% of the over-65 age-group affected and also it is increasing in incidence and prevalence.Each year there are 150,000 strokes in the UK. Nearly one in five (18%) of the people presenting with a stroke are in AF at the time of presentation, and one in six strokes are directly attributable to AF.