Medical emergencies: Atrial fibrillation and myocardial infarction

Anaesthesia (Impact Factor: 3.38). 01/2013; 68(S1):84-101. DOI: 10.1111/anae.12050


In this, the first of two article on medical emergencies, we discuss the definitions, epidemiology, pathophysiology, acute and chronic management of atrial fibrillation and acute myocardial necrosis in the peri-operative and intensive care settings.

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Available from: Jonathan Ball
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    • "AF is a potentially life-changing arrhythmia that can lead to stroke or heart failure, resulting in reduced quality of life and health for patients and a significant financial challenge for the NHS (Somasundaram and Ball, 2013). Using Lip and Watson's (2008) estimates, the likely incidence of patients with symptomatic new-onset/paroxysmal AF requiring emergency treatment is 502 per million of UK population versus 1 407 per million of population for patients with STEMI requiring PPCI (British Cardiovascular Intervention Society, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is high, it is the most prevalent arrhythmia in the UK, Europe and the USA (Naccarelli et al, 2009; Davis et al, 2012; Dagres et al, 2013) and is associated with significant morbidity, high risk of stroke and mortality (Cottrell, 2012). Clinical guidance from the National Collaborating Centre for Chronic Conditions (NCCCC) (2006) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2006) supports clinicians working in primary and hospital-based emergency care, but not those working in pre-hospital care. Updated guidance from NICE (2014) highlights the importance of providing rapid, personalised, evidence-based care, yet does not provide any guidance for pre-hospital clinicians responding to emergency presentations of AF. Paramedics have knowledge and experience of identifying AF, possess antiarrhythmic, anticoagulant and anti-platelet medications as part of their formulary and possess the necessary skills for obtaining intravenous access. This article reviews the national guidance and available best-evidence to provide safe treatment to patients presenting with new-onset AF and considers areas that merit further research.
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