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1.  Prospective observational studies of the management and outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation: A systematic review 
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major global public health problem. Observational studies are necessary to understand patient characteristics, management, and outcomes of this common arrhythmia. Accordingly, our objective was to describe the current status of published prospective observational studies of AF.
Methods and results
MEDLINE and EMBASE (to June 2012) and reference lists of eligible studies were searched for English-language prospective observational registries of AF (n ⩾ 100 and follow-up ⩾6 months). Two reviewers independently extracted data. Disagreements were resolved by consensus. Eight prospective studies enrolled a total of 17,924 patients with AF (total 41,306 patient-years of exposure; follow-up 11 months to 9.9 years). The majority of subjects were enrolled in Europe (74%) or North America (21%), and 0.3% had rheumatic AF. The most consistently reported comorbidities were diabetes mellitus (range 5–18%), hypertension (39–68%), heart failure (5–58%), and prior stroke (4–17%). Three studies did not report all the variables necessary to calculate the currently recommended stroke risk assessment score, and no study reported all the variables required to calculate a recently validated bleeding risk score. The most consistently reported management features were oral anticoagulation (32–64%) and aspirin (28–61%) use. Calcium channel blockers were less frequently used than other rate controlling agents, and digoxin was most common in the single study from Africa (63%). Total mortality was reported in all studies, while data on stroke/systemic embolism, hospitalizations, and major hemorrhage rates were not always reported.
Current literature on real-world management of AF is relatively limited with inadequate data to allow detailed comparisons among reports. Data on rheumatic AF and from Africa and the developing world in general are sparse.
PMCID: PMC3809474  PMID: 24174832
Atrial fibrillation; Systematic review
2.  Inflammatory cytokines and atrial fibrillation: current and prospective views 
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia and a challenging clinical problem encountered in daily clinical practice. There is an increasing body of evidence linking inflammation to a broad spectrum of cardiovascular conditions including AF. Historical evidence supports an association between AF and inflammation and is consistent with the association of AF with inflammatory conditions of the heart, such as myocarditis and pericarditis. AF has been associated with myocardial oxidative stress, and antioxidant agents have demonstrated antiarrhythmic benefit in humans. Increased plasma interleukin (IL)-6, C-reactive protein (CRP), and plasma viscosity support the existence of an inflammatory state among “typical” populations with chronic AF. These indexes of inflammation are related to the prothrombotic state and may be linked to the clinical characteristics of the patients (underlying vascular disease and comorbidities), rather than simply to the presence of AF itself. It has been suggested that inflammation may have a role in the development of atrial arrhythmias after cardiac surgery, and that a genetic predisposition to develop postoperative complications exists. Cytokines can have a prognostic significance; IL-6 levels, CRP, and other cytokines may have prognostic value in AF. Cytokine lowering therapies, statins, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and other anti-inflammatory agents may have a role in the treatment of AF. The present article provides an overview of the evidence linking inflammatory cytokines to AF and their therapeutic and prognostic implications.
PMCID: PMC3218735  PMID: 22096359
atrial fibrillation; inflammation; cytokines
3.  Commotio Cordis 
Sudden arrhythmic death as a result of a blunt chest wall blow has been termed Commotio Cordis (CC). CC is being reported with increasing frequency with more than 180 cases now described in the United States Commotio Cordis Registry. The clinical spectrum is diverse; however young athletes tend to be most at risk, with victims commonly being struck by projectiles regarded as standard implements of the sport. Sudden death is instantaneous and victims are most often found in ventricular fibrillation (VF). Chest blows are not of sufficient magnitude to cause any significant damage to overlying thoracic structures and autopsy is notable for the absence of any structural cardiac injury. Development of an experimental model has allowed for substantial insights into the underlying mechanisms of sudden death. In anesthetized juvenile swine, induction of VF is instantaneous following chest impacts that occur during a vulnerable window before the T wave peak. Other critical variables, including the impact velocity and location, and the hardness of the impact object have also been identified. Rapid left ventricular pressure rise following chest impact likely results in activation of ion channels via mechano-electric coupling. The generation of inward current through mechano-sensitive ion channels results in augmentation of repolarization and non-uniform myocardial activation, and is the cause of premature ventricular depolarizations that are triggers of VF in CC. Currently available chest protectors commonly used in sport are not adequately designed to prevent CC. The development of more effective chest protectors and the widespread availability of automated external defibrillators at youth sporting events could improve the safety of young athletes.
PMCID: PMC2018736  PMID: 17957272
Commotio cordis; Ventricular Fibrillation; Athletes; Sudden Death; Mechano-electric coupling

Results 1-3 (3)