Do all patients with atrial fibrillation need long-term anticoagulation?

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Munish Sharma *
Rohit Masih
Daniel A.N. Mascarenhas
(*) Corresponding Author:
Munish Sharma | munishs1@hotmail.com

Abstract

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide with an estimated number of 2.7-6.1 million cases in the United States (US) alone. The incidence of AF is expected to increase 2.5 fold over the next 50 years in the US. The management of AF is complex and includes mainly three aspects; restoration of sinus rhythm, control of ventricular rate and prevention of systemic thromboembolism. AF as a cause of systemic embolization has been well known for many years, and majority of patients are on oral anticoagulants (OACs) to prevent this. Many times, a patient may not be in AF chronically, nor is the AF burden (the amount of time patient is in AF out of the total monitored time) calculated. We present three cases of new onset transient AF triggered by temporary stressors. We were able to restore normal sinus rhythm (NSR) with chemical cardioversion. As per 2014 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations, we started all three patients on OACs based on CHA2DS2VASc score >2. However, the patients refused long term OACs after restoration of NSR and correction of the temporary enticing stressors. In any case, the decision to start OACs would have had its own risks. Here we describe how antiarrhythmic drugs were used to maintain NSR, all while they were continuously monitored to determine the need to continue OACs.

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