[Treatment of arrhythmia in atrial fibrillation]
The initial therapy after onset of atrial fibrillation (AF) should always include adequate antithrombotic treatment and control of the ventricular rate. Depending on the patient's course, this strategy may prove insufficient and may then be supplemented by rhythm control using drugs or interventions. Clinical frustration came by clinical trials that have demonstrated that the strategy of maintaining sinus rhythm has no demonstrable value when compared with the "laissez-faire" approach of leaving AF to a permanent form and controlling ventricular rate. These disappointing findings can be considered as paradoxical when considering the severe complications associated with AF in epidemiological studies. New anti-arrhythmic approaches might offer added value but this is still a matter of debate. Non-pharmacological interventions to prevent AF recurrences or to limit its expression have been substantially developed in the past decade. Ablation techniques, usually done percutaneously using a catheter, have proved successful n the treatment of AF, particularly by reducing the symptomatic burden associated with the arrhythmia, to such an extent that a 'cure' may be achieved in some patients with paroxysmal AF.
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