Emergency medicine considerations in atrial fibrillation

Brit Long, Jennifer Robertson, Alex Koyfman, Kurian Maliel, Justin R. Warix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an abnormal heart rhythm which may lead to stroke, heart failure, and death. Emergency physicians play a role in diagnosing AF, managing symptoms, and lessening complications from this dysrhythmia. Objective: This review evaluates recent literature and addresses ED considerations in the management of AF. Discussion: Emergency physicians should first assess patient clinical stability and evaluate and treat reversible causes. Immediate cardioversion is indicated in the hemodynamically unstable patient. The American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology, the European Society of Cardiology, and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society provide recommendations for management of AF. If hemodynamically stable, rate or rhythm control are options for management of AF. Physicians may opt for rate control with medications, with beta blockers and calcium channel blockers the predominant medications utilized in the ED. Patients with intact left ventricular function should be rate controlled to <110 beats per minute. Rhythm control is an option for patients who possess longer life expectancy and those with AF onset <48 h before presentation, anticoagulated for 3-4 weeks, or with transesophageal echocardiography demonstrating no intracardiac thrombus. Direct oral anticoagulants are a safe and reliable option for anticoagulation. Clinical judgment regarding disposition is recommended, but literature supports discharging stable patients who do not have certain comorbidities. Conclusion: Proper diagnosis and treatment of AF is essential to reduce complications. Treatment and overall management of AF include rate or rhythm control, cardioversion, anticoagulation, and admission versus discharge. This review discusses ED considerations regarding AF management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Emergency Medicine
Atrial Fibrillation
Electric Countershock
Physicians
Emergencies
Transesophageal Echocardiography
Calcium Channel Blockers
Life Expectancy
Left Ventricular Function
Anticoagulants
Comorbidity
Thrombosis
Heart Failure
Stroke
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cardiology
  • Dysrhythmia
  • Tachycardia
  • Tachydysrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

Cite this

Emergency medicine considerations in atrial fibrillation. / Long, Brit; Robertson, Jennifer; Koyfman, Alex; Maliel, Kurian; Warix, Justin R.

In: American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Long, Brit ; Robertson, Jennifer ; Koyfman, Alex ; Maliel, Kurian ; Warix, Justin R. / Emergency medicine considerations in atrial fibrillation. In: American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2018.
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