II. Indications: Longterm Anticoagulation in Atrial Fibrillation

  1. CVA Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation
  2. CHADS Score (or CHADS2-VASc Score) of 2 or higher (consider for 1 or higher)
  3. Consider Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index
  4. Preparation for Atrial Fibrillation Cardioversion
    1. Atrial Fibrillation longer than 48 hours
    2. Cardioversion without Anticoagulation risks embolism
  5. Following cardioversion for 3 weeks
    1. Increased risk of Thromboembolism after electrical cardioversion (stunned Myocardium)

III. Indications: Longterm Anticoagulation in Atrial Fibrillation by specific risk factors

  1. Indications: High Risk
    1. Prior Cerebrovascular Accident or Thromboembolism
    2. Rheumatic mitral valve disease or Mitral Stenosis
    3. Prosthetic Heart Valve
  2. Indications: Moderate Risk (could consider Aspirin)
    1. Hypertension
    2. Left Ventricular Failure
    3. Cardiomyopathy
    4. Age over 75 years old
    5. Diabetes Mellitus
  3. Indications: Less Validated Factors
    1. Coronary Artery Disease with preserved LV function
    2. Age 65 to 75 years old (especially women)
    3. Hyperthyroidism

IV. Management: Short-term Anticoagulation prior to Cardioversion

  1. Protocol
    1. Assumes Atrial Fibrillation >48 hours or unknown
    2. See Atrial Fibrillation Acute Management for <48 hour
  2. Delayed cardioversion
    1. Anticoagulation on Warfarin (or other Anticoagulant listed below) for 3 weeks
    2. Atrial Fibrillation Cardioversion
    3. Anticoagulation on Warfarin (or other Anticoagulant listed below) for 4 more weeks
  3. Early cardioversion
    1. Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWH) or Intravenous Standard Heparin for 24 hours
    2. Transesophageal Echocardiogram excludes atrial clot
    3. Atrial Fibrillation Cardioversion
    4. Anticoagulation on Coumadin (Warfarin) for 4 more weeks

V. Management: Coumadin (Warfarin)

  1. Adverse Effects
    1. Risk of hemorrhagic complications are substantial
    2. Avoid in over age 80 (risk of Hemorrhagic CVA outweighs benefit)
    3. Consider Aspirin as alternative in lower risk patients and in advanced age
  2. Efficacy: Reduces Atrial Fib CVA risk
    1. Untreated: 3.6 to 7.4% risk of CVA/year
    2. Aspirin (325 qd): 2.5 to 3.6% risk of CVA/year
    3. Warfarin 0.9 to 3.5% risk of CVA/year
      1. Benefits outweigh bleeding risk if high risk
  3. Dosing
    1. See Warfarin Protocol
    2. Target INR 2-3
    3. Tight INR control is important
      1. INR 1.5-1.9 with 2 fold risk of severe CVA
      2. INR 1.5-1.9 with 3 fold risk of mortality
      3. Hylek (2003) N Engl J Med 349:1019-26 [PubMed]
  4. References
    1. Van Walraven (2002) JAMA 288:2441-8 [PubMed]

VI. Management: DOAC Alternatives to Warfarin in non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation

  1. Indications
    1. Warfarin Drug Interactions
    2. Warfarin drug level lability
    3. Patient refuses lab monitoring
  2. Contraindications (use Warfarin instead)
    1. See specific agents (Dabigatran, Rivaroxaban, Apixiban)
    2. End-stage renal disease (ESRD)
    3. Mechanical Heart Valves
  3. Disadvantages
    1. No proven reversal agent in case of bleeding
      1. See Anticoagulant Reversal
    2. Shorter half-lives (~12 hours) than Warfarin (40 hours)
      1. Atrial Fibrillation stroke risk returns after missing 2-3 doses of these agents
    3. Much more expensive than Warfarin
      1. Warfarin: $80/month (based on monthly INR monitoring)
      2. Other Anticoagulants: $250/month (approximate)
    4. More major Gastrointestinal Bleeding events than with Warfarin
      1. Dabigatran (Pradaxa) causes 8/1000 more major GI Bleeds than warafrin
      2. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) also causes more GI Bleeding than Warfarin
      3. Apixaban (Eliquis) does NOT increase GI Bleeding risk when compared with Warfarin
  4. Preparations (see specific agents for dosing protocols)
    1. Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
      1. Direct Thrombin Inhibitor
      2. Dabigatran 150 mg orally twice daily
        1. Decrease dose to 75 mg twice daily if GFR 15-30 (and avoid if GFR <15 ml/min)
      3. Fewer drug interactions Than Rivoroxaban
      4. More effective than Warfarin
        1. Prevents 3 more Ischemic CVAs and 6 more brain Hemorrhages per 1000 patients
    2. Factor Xa Inhibitors
      1. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) 20 mg orally daily
        1. Decrease dose to 15mg daily if GFR 15-50 (and avoid if GFR <15 ml/min)
      2. Apixaban (Eliquis) 5 mg twice daily
        1. Decrease dose to 2.5 mg if two of following present: age >80, weight <60 kg, Creatinine>2.0
      3. Edoxaban (Savaysa) 60 mg daily
        1. Decrease dose to 30 mg daily if GFR15-50 (and avoid if GFR <15 ml/min)
        2. Also avoid if GFR>95 (enhanced clearance) or severe Cirrhosis (Child-Pugh Class C)
  5. References
    1. Steinberg (2014) BMJ 348:g2116 +PMID:24733535 [PubMed]

VII. Management: Aspirin

  1. Disadvantages
    1. For age over 75 years old, Aspirin 75 mg daily has same bleeding risk of Warfarin and higher risk of CVA
      1. Mant (2007) Lancet 370(9586):493-503 [PubMed]
    2. Clopidogrel with low dose Aspirin is not recommended for Atrial Fibrillation stroke prevention
      1. Has higher stroke risk and the same bleeding risk as Warfarin
  2. Indications
    1. Low risk (Lone Atrial Fibrillation)
      1. Under age 60 years without Coronary Artery Disease
      2. Low risk of Thromboembolism (<.5% risk)
      3. Age >75 years without other Thromboembolism risk
    2. Risk of bleeding on Coumadin outweighs benefits
      1. See HAS-BLED Score
      2. See Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index
      3. Age >65 years
      4. History of Gastrointestinal Bleeding
      5. History of Cerebrovascular Accident
      6. Recent Myocardial Infarction
      7. Hematocrit <30%
      8. Creatinine >1.5
      9. Diabetes Mellitus
    3. References
      1. Man-Son-Hing (2002) Arch Intern Med 162:541-50 [PubMed]
  3. Dosing
    1. Aspirin 81 to 325 mg daily

VIII. Approach: Gastrointestinal Bleeding on Anticoagulants

  1. Background
    1. Gastrointestinal Bleeding occurs in 15% of patients on Anticoagulants for Atrial Fibrillation
  2. Management
    1. Restart Anticoagulation 7-14 days after Gastrointestinal Bleeding in CHADS2-VASc Score 2 or more
    2. Exceptions: cases in which restarting Anticoagulation would be too high risk
      1. Esophageal Varices
      2. Alcohol Abuse (especially if increased Liver Function Tests)
      3. Recurrent Gastrointestinal Bleeding history requiring hospital admission or Blood Transfusion
    3. Risk of stroke related mortality is 4x higher than mortality related to Gastrointestinal Bleeding
    4. Warfarin or Eliquis (Apixaban) have lower risk of Gastrointestinal Bleeding
    5. Pradaxa (Dabigatran) and Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) are higher risk for Gastrointestinal Bleeding
  3. Other preventive strategies
    1. Use Proton Pump Inhibitor for gastrointestinal prophylaxis
    2. Avoid combining Anticoagulant with Aspirin and Platelet ADP Receptor Antagonist (e.g. Plavix)
  4. References
    1. (2016) Presc Lett 23(2): 1
    2. Chang (2015) BMJ 350:h1585 +PMID:25911526 [PubMed]
    3. Qureshi (2014) Am J Cardiol 113(4):662-8 +PMID:24355310 [PubMed]

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Ontology: Atrial Fibrillation (C0004238)

Definition (CHV) rapid tremor and shake of upper chambers of the heart
Definition (CHV) rapid tremor and shake of upper chambers of the heart
Definition (CHV) rapid tremor and shake of upper chambers of the heart
Definition (CHV) rapid tremor and shake of upper chambers of the heart
Definition (CHV) rapid tremor and shake of upper chambers of the heart
Definition (CHV) rapid tremor and shake of upper chambers of the heart
Definition (MEDLINEPLUS)

An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia. The cause is a disorder in the heart's electrical system.

Often, people who have AF may not even feel symptoms. But you may feel

  • Palpitations -- an abnormal rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness or difficulty exercising
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion

AF can lead to an increased risk of stroke. In many patients, it can also cause chest pain, heart attack, or heart failure.

Doctors diagnose AF using family and medical history, a physical exam, and a test called an electrocardiogram (EKG), which looks at the electrical waves your heart makes. Treatments include medicines and procedures to restore normal rhythm.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Definition (NCI_CTCAE) A disorder characterized by a dysrhythmia without discernible P waves and an irregular ventricular response due to multiple reentry circuits. The rhythm disturbance originates above the ventricles.
Definition (NCI_FDA) An arrhythmia in which minute areas of the atrial myocardium are in various uncoordinated stages of depolarization and repolarization; instead of intermittently contracting, the atria quiver continuously in a chaotic pattern, causing a totally irregular, often rapid ventricular rate.
Definition (NCI) A disorder characterized by an electrocardiographic finding of a supraventricular arrhythmia characterized by the replacement of consistent P waves by rapid oscillations or fibrillatory waves that vary in size, shape and timing and are accompanied by an irregular ventricular response. (CDISC)
Definition (CSP) disorder of cardiac rhythm characterized by rapid, irregular atrial impulses and ineffective atrial contractions.
Definition (MSH) Abnormal cardiac rhythm that is characterized by rapid, uncoordinated firing of electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart (HEART ATRIA). In such case, blood cannot be effectively pumped into the lower chambers of the heart (HEART VENTRICLES). It is caused by abnormal impulse generation.
Concepts Pathologic Function (T046)
MSH D001281
ICD9 427.31
SnomedCT 155364009, 266306001, 49436004
LNC LA17084-7
English Atrial Fibrillations, Auricular Fibrillation, Auricular Fibrillations, Fibrillations, Atrial, Fibrillations, Auricular, FIBRILLATION ATRIAL, AURICULAR FIBRILLATION, Auricular fibrillation, Fibrillation, Atrial, Fibrillation, Auricular, AF, atrial fibrillation, atrial fibrillation (diagnosis), Afib, AFib, Fibrillation atrial, Atrial Fibrillation [Disease/Finding], Fibrillation;atrial, afib, atrial fibrillation (AF), auricular fibrillations, atrial fibrillations, Familial Atrial Fibrillation, Fibrillation - atrial, ATRIAL FIBRILLATION, Atrial fibrillation, AF - Atrial fibrillation, Atrial fibrillation (disorder), atrium; fibrillation, auricular; fibrillation, fibrillation; atrial or auricular, Atrial Fibrillation, auricular fibrillation
French FIBRILLATION AURICULAIRE, FA, AFib, Fibrillation auriculaire, Fibrillation atriale
German VORHOFFLIMMERN, AF, Afib, Flimmern Vorhof, Herzohrflimmern, HERZVORHOFFLIMMERN, Vorhofflimmern, Aurikuläres Flimmern
Portuguese FIBRILACAO AURICULAR, FA, FIBRILHACAO AURICULAR, Fibrilhação auricular, Fibrilação Atrial, Fibrilação Auricular
Spanish FIBRILACION AURICULAR, FA, Fibrilación atrial, AURICULAR, FIBRILACION, fibrilación auricular (trastorno), fibrilación auricular, Fibrilación auricular, Fibrilación Atrial, Fibrilación Auricular
Dutch AFib, AF, atriumfibrillatie, hartoorfibrilleren, atrium; fibrilleren, auriculair; fibrilleren, fibrilleren; atrium of auriculair, atriale fibrillatie, Atriumfibrillatie, Boezemfibrillatie, Fibrillatie, atrium-, Fibrillatie, boezem-, Fibrilleren, boezem-
Swedish Förmaksflimmer
Japanese シンボウサイドウ, 心房細動, 心房性細動
Finnish Eteisvärinä
Russian USHKA PREDSERDIIA FIBRILLIATSIIA, PREDSERDII FIBRILLIATSIIA, ПРЕДСЕРДИЙ ФИБРИЛЛЯЦИЯ, УШКА ПРЕДСЕРДИЯ ФИБРИЛЛЯЦИЯ
Czech Fibrilace ouška, Fibrilace síní, fibrilace síní, síňová fibrilace, FiS
Italian Fibrillazione auricolare, Fibrillazione atriale
Croatian ATRIJ, FIBRILACIJA
Polish Migotanie przedsionków
Hungarian AFib, Fibrillatio atrialis, Pitvarfibrillatio
Norwegian Forkammerflimmer, Hjerteflimmer, Artrieflimmer