, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 355-356
Date: 17 Aug 2012


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Whilst tremendous advances have been made in the treatment of coronary artery disease, hypertension, and heart failure, the optimal management of atrial fibrillation (AF) still remains a challenge.[1] Furthermore, the prevalence of AF is increasing in developed countries due to aging of the general population, and this arrhythmia affects more than 8% of patients over 80 years of age.[2]

Treatment of AF has two major goals: symptom relief and prevention of complications such as thromboembolic events and heart failure. Given that AF commonly co-exists with multiple co-morbidities — essentially cardiovascular risk factors — there is no surprise that sub-optimal control of cardiovascular risk factors translates to the subsequent development of AF.[3] Also, AF leads to an increased risk of mortality and hospitalizations, the latter resulting in a high healthcare cost burden.[4,5] Hospitalizations are also a surrogate for subsequent mortality in AF patients.[6]

Nonetheless, AF represents a maj ...