• The most current treatment modality for atrial fibrillation is ablation; care before, during, and after this procedure is discussed in the article.

  • Atrial fibrillation is classified into 3 types, with different treatment options.

  • Curative ablation and medical management of atrial fibrillation become cost equivalent about 4 years after ablation; the beneficial effects last a lifetime.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained arrhythmia in clinical practice. It affects more than 2 million people in the United States, and an estimated 150000 new cases will be diagnosed each year. Because 4% of the US population more than 65 years old is affected, the costs to the health care system, especially Medicare, will be astronomical. Atrial fibrillation is a contributing factor in the development of angina, heart failure, and stroke. Thromboembolic events are the most feared complication of this disease. Patients with atrial...

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