Treatment of atrial fibrillation in the elderly: time for a change?
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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia. The prevalence of AF is highly age dependent as the median age of AF patients is 75 years and at least 70% of AF patients are between 65 and 85 years old [1, 2]. With increasing life expectancy, AF prevalence will increase 2.5 times during the next 40 years and constitute an even more important health concern .
Symptoms may change as AF progresses from paroxysmal to permanent, especially in the elderly. Palpitations are more common among patients <65 years compared with patients aged 65–80 years (61% and 46%, respectively). However, other symptoms, such as dyspnoea and fatigue, are more prevailing in the elderly resulting in overall presence of symptoms in 75% among patients <65 years and 67% among patients between 65 and 80 years (Euro Heart Survey on AF, personal communications by HJGM Crijns). Care of AF patients poses a very high economic burden on society. The annual costs of the average AF patient are over 3000 euro (3600...
This study is financially supported by St Jude Medical.
The unpublished data from the Euro Heart Survey on AF provided by Prof. Dr. HJGM Crijns are gratefully accepted.
- 2.Fuster V, Rydén LE, Cannom DS, et al. ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for the management of patient with atrial fibrillation. JACC. 2006;48:e149–246.Google Scholar