The authors provide an update on non-pharmacological treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF). They emphasize that although antiarrhythmic drugs continue to be first-line therapy for the arrhythmia considered to be a cardiovascular epidemic, clinical research to develop non-pharmacological means of treatment has been unprecedentally intensified during the last decade. Electrical cardioversion is the most successful non-pharmacological method to restore sinus rhythm, also the efficacy and safety of AV node ablation for palliative ventricular rate-controll is established. "Hybrid" therapeutic procedures, involving combinations of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions have gained widespread use. Curative transcatheter ablation for arrhythmia prevention is to be considered in case of clinical suggestions that AF is initiated by a primary regular arrhythmia that is amenable to routine catheter ablation (secondary AF). Despite encouraging results, at this point in time, curative catheter ablation for primary AF may offer significant improvement or even cure only for a small subset of patients, mostly young individuals with normal heart, and paroxysmal AF with frequent, symptomatic episodes refractory to multiple antiarrhythmic drugs. These interventions are to be performed in the settings of a clinical research project in some institutions. Regarding pacemaker therapy in case of bradycardia indication, physiologic pacing (AAI or DDD) is associated with significantly lower incidence of atrial fibrillation than ventricular pacing. Large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed to assess the clinical value of specially designed implantable devices to prevent atrial fibrillation in patients with no conventional bradycardia indication. Also, technical optimization and proper clinical evaluation is needed for implantable atrioverters and implantable cardioverter defibrillators capable of atrial cardioversion therapy.
|Translated title of the contribution||Non-pharmacologic treatment of atrial fibrillation|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 29 2003|
ASJC Scopus subject areas