Author Affiliations: Division of Health Services Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
The public health burden of atrial fibrillation (AF) is considerable: AF affects an estimated 2.6 million Americans1 and increases the risk for ischemic stroke 2- to 7-fold, likely as a result of thromboemboli from the left atrium. Most patients require treatment with anticoagulants to reduce the risk for stroke, but these therapies increase the risk for bleeding. Many but not all patients with AF experience arrhythmia-related symptoms such as palpitations, syncope, and reduced-exercise capacity. Thus, the therapy for AF aims to reduce arrhythmia-related symptoms and the risk for ischemic stroke.
Kazi DS, Hlatky MA. Atrial Fibrillation Ablation, Symptoms, and Stroke RiskComment on “Discerning the Incidence of Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Episodes of Atrial Fibrillation Before and After Catheter Ablation (DISCERN AF)”. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(2):156-157. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2476