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Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure

Atrial fibrillation is common in heart failure patients and is associated with increased mortality.  Pharmacologic trials have not shown any survival benefit for a rhythm control over a rate control strategy.  It has been suggested that sinus rhythm is associated with a survival benefit, but that the risks of anti-arrhythmic drug treatment and poor efficacy offset the beneficial effect.  Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation can establish sinus rhythm without the risks of anti-arrhythmic drug therapy.  Data from randomized trials demonstrating a survival benefit for patients undergoing an ablation procedure for atrial fibrillation are still lacking.  Ablation of the AV junction and permanent pacing remain a treatment alternative in otherwise refractory cases.  Placement of a biventricular system may prevent or reduce negative consequences of chronic right ventricular pacing.  Current objectives and options for treatment of atrial fibrillation in heart failure patients are reviewed. 

Credits: William G. Stevenson, M.D; Usha B. Tedrow, M.D; Jens Seiler, M.D

Biosense Webster
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Introduction to AFib
Ablation Specialist

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