There is a strong link between AF and stroke - one in five of all strokes can be attributed to this condition. Approximately 30 percent of people who experience AF-related strokes die during the hospital admission and another 20 percent are likely to die within a year. Care for patients with Atrial Fibrillation starts with identifying high-risk populations, for example–patients with sleep apnea, obesity and/or hypertension. Some regional guidelines recommend regular screening of all patients over 65 years old.3
Diagnosis is based in part on ECG interpretation of the heart rhythm and clinical history.3 Studies indicate that one of the key factors is to differentiate between chronic and paroxysmal AF in order to find the optimal management strategy for the patient.3
Patients are typically managed with medical therapy such as anti-coagulation and anti-arrhythmic medications. Cardiovascular imaging can also be employed to help determine cardiac function. For patients who don’t respond to medical therapy alone, there are non-surgical treatment options such as cardioversion and ablation.3
If considering catheter ablation as a treatment option, pre-procedure planning can involve use of MR or CT imaging to identify anatomical targets for the procedure and understand the extent of AF. These images can help guide decisions on necessity of left atrial appendage closure in certain populations.3
During the intervention, it’s important to minimize complications. Interventional system use should be optimized for clinical success while helping to minimize contrast and radiation exposure to patient and clinician.
After an ablation, regular patient follow up and non-invasive imaging assessment may detect potential return of Atrial Fibrillation.3
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