Introduction: Early Diagnosis and Appropriate Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The American journal of cardiology


205 Suppl 1




Atrial fibrillation; ablation; antiarrhythmic; rhythm control


Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common sustained arrhythmia, represents a significant burden to patients and healthcare systems. Many patients with AF are asymptomatic and often undiagnosed. Improved detection methods and surveillance have resulted in recognition of asymptomatic and subclinical AF, providing earlier diagnosis. The recent EAST-AFNET 4 and Korean studies have demonstrated early rhythm control (ERC) with antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) or ablation in patients with AF improves outcomes. The EARLY AF and STOP AF First studies have shown that ERC using ablation can slow AF progression. In the following videos, the authors discuss the evolving AF landscape, with an emphasis on the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment. Historic rate versus rhythm control studies and their limitations are reviewed, followed by recent studies that support the use of ERC alongside usual care including rate control. Discussion of ERC treatment includes the selection of appropriate AADs based on safety, when to choose ablation as first-line therapy, and the complementary use of ablation and AADs. The authors summarize the current guidelines for the use of AADs to treat AF, highlighting the importance of concordance with those guidelines. Patient cases are used to relate the contents of the videos to clinical practice and are supplemented with discussion of the importance of shared decision-making involving the patient in treatment decisions. It is anticipated that this digital publication will enable cardiologists and primary care providers to recognize when early treatment of AF will improve patient outcomes, and to empower them to initiate that treatment accordingly.