ACC/AHA/ESC Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: Executive Summary A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the European Society of Cardiology Committee for Practice Guidelines and Policy Conferences (Committee to Develop Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation) Developed in Collaboration With the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology
Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common sustained cardiac rhythm disturbance, is increasing in prevalence as the population ages. Although it is often associated with heart disease, AF occurs in many patients with no detectable disease. Hemodynamic impairment and thromboembolic events result in significant morbidity, mortality, and cost. Accordingly, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) created a committee of experts to establish guidelines for management of this arrhythmia.
The committee was composed of 8 members representing the ACC and AHA, 4 representing the ESC, 1 from the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE), and a representative of the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-Based Practice Center representing the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s report on Atrial Fibrillation in the Elderly. This document was reviewed by 3 official reviewers nominated by the ACC, 3 nominated by the AHA, and 3 nominated by the ESC, as well as by the ACC Clinical Electrophysiology Committee, the AHA ECG and Arrhythmia Committee, NASPE, and 25 reviewers nominated by the writing committee. The document was approved for publication by the governing bodies of the ACC, AHA, and ESC and officially endorsed by NASPE. These guidelines will be reviewed annually by the task force and will be considered current unless the task force revises or withdraws them from distribution.
The committee conducted a comprehensive review of the literature from 1980 to June 2000 relevant to AF using the following databases: PubMed/Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library (including the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry), and Best Evidence. Searches were limited to English language sources and to human subjects.
A. Atrial Fibrillation
AF is a supraventricular tachyarrhythmia characterized by uncoordinated atrial activation with consequent deterioration of atrial mechanical function. On the electrocardiogram (ECG), AF …