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Can we achieve excellence in care of patients with atrial fibrillation?

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Atrial Fibrillation slides

In this interesting clinically focused session three speakers provided information and various perspectives on caring for patients with atrial fibrillation.

First, Anders Johnson from Sweden spoke on “Drugs versus Ablation Therapy for AF: State of the Art”, and discussed the evidence, effectiveness and controversies regarding anti-arrhythmic drugs (AAD) and ablation therapy. Although ablation therapy is more effective than AAD, it has typically been used in selected patients (younger and healthier), is initially more costly, and its effectiveness is dependent on operator experience. Current guidelines recommend ablation therapy in patients for whom AAD has been ineffective or not tolerated, although in future it may be recommended as initial therapy for some patients.


Second, Jeroen Hendricks from the Netherlands presented “The Atrial Fibrillation Clinic and the Role of the Nurse”. This presentation focused on an AF disease management programme consisting of a guidelines-based, nurse-driven, ICT-supported outpatient clinic for patients with AF. The programme is being evaluated in a randomised clinical trial that will compare outcomes (heart failure, thromboembolic complications, major bleeding, adverse drug events, mortality, quality of life, compliance, patient satisfaction and cost-effectiveness) between patients randomised to the disease management programme and those in usual care. Initial pilot work has already shown improved adherence to AF guidelines. Discussion centred on the roles of nurses in managing patients with different cardiac conditions.


The third presentation was by Laura Nelson from the United Kingdom, who discussed the development of the Arrhythmia Alliance in the UK; “Involving Patient Groups: The Role of the Arrhythmia Alliance”. The Arrhythmia Alliance is a charitable group that brings together patients, providers and policy makers, to provide support to patients and families, improve care of patients with arrhythmias, and influence health policy.