Recently, scientists published a new guideline for treating people with heart rhythm disorders.
The 2019 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association/Heart Rhythm Society Guidelines for the Management of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is written for all physicians in all specialties.
The guidelines have very important public implications. This is because AFib is linked to a higher risk of heart failure, stroke, dementia, and death.
It is usually described as a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
Previously, scientists have found that nearly 3 million people in the U.S. are living with this health condition.
The number of people living with AFib has been increasing fast with increasing lifespan and high rates of obesity.
The new guidelines focus on the use of new blood thinners or anticoagulants in people with AFib.
For example, it explains in detail how and when to use these new agents, including in a situation that involves surgery.
The guidelines also talk about the management of AFib in different scenarios. This includes patients who have developed heart attacks.
For people with heart attacks, doctors have to prescribe other agents called antiplatelets.
The drugs can elevate the risk of bleeding when combined with blood thinners.
Current recommendation in favor of double therapy- one antiplatelet agent and one anticoagulant.
In addition, the guidelines explain the importance of body weight management in people with AFib.
Recent research has shown that lifestyle changes such as weight loss and exercise can reduce the health risk of AFib.
Helping people with Afib develop healthy lifestyle habits could greatly reduce the burden of the disease on their life.
One guideline writer is Lin Yee Chen, MD, MS, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine with the University of Minnesota Medical School.
The new guidelines are published in Circulation, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and Heart Rhythm.
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