AF guidelines out

Australia’s first guidelines for the diagnosis and management of adult patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) have been released by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

The Foundation’s Chief Medical Adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings, says the guidelines are aimed at having a significant impact on Australians living with AF, through evidence-based recommendations on its screening, diagnosis and treatment.

“More than half a million Australians currently live with atrial fibrillation, and the condition has a substantial effect on patients’ wellbeing,” he said. “But its incidence is underestimated because many patients don’t have clinical symptoms.

“The guidelines offer advice in a local context and are based on new and emerging evidence on issues such as the complexities of using newer anticoagulants to prevent stroke, and the patients in whom catheter ablation is recommended.

“The guidelines also advise on the need to prevent, detect and manage several risk factors that can cause AF and increase its complications, including hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, valvular heart disease and alcohol excess.