It needs no reiteration that atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in the United States (US), affecting approximately 6-7 million individuals nationally and projected to increase in prevalence to nearly 16 million patients by the year 2050. The incremental cost of AF to the US healthcare system was last estimated to be on the order of US $26 billion in the year 2005. Despite preponderance for developed countries, AF is very much a global epidemic, affecting an estimated 33.5 million individuals worldwide. Risk factors for AF include advancing age, elevated body mass index, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, heavy alcohol consumption, the presence of cardiovascular disease (e.g. coronary and/or valvular heart disease, heart failure), and obstructive sleep apnea . Importantly, many of these risk factors are modifiable, though lack of education and, often times, awareness of the diagnosis are major barriers for patients.
Credits: Dhanunjaya (DJ) Lakkireddy; Andrea Natale