New guidelines to help reduce rates of stroke and hospitalization of patients with atrial fibrillation
Ottawa—The Canadian Cardiovascular Society Atrial Fibrillation Guidelines 2010 help Canadian physicians better recognize and treat a common heart condition that affects about 250,000 Canadians.
Published today in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, the guidelines contain many new recommendations, including:
- “pill-in-pocket” therapy for patients with infrequent and longer-lasting atrial fibrillation. This would replace daily anti-arrhythmic therapy with a single drug dose
- the goal of rhythm control therapy should be to improve patient symptoms and to improve quality of life, not to eliminate atrial fibrillation
“These guidelines will help improve quality-of-life and reduce rates of stroke and hospitalization for atrial fibrillation-related causes,” says Dr. Blair O’Neill, President of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. “Guidelines like these are a priority for the CCS and highly valued by healthcare professionals.”
Atrial fibrillation is a condition involving an irregular heart rhythm, known as arrhythmia. Individuals with atrial fibrillation have a three to five times greater risk for stroke. One in four Canadians over the age of 40 risks developing this anxiety-inducing, uncomfortable disease. After the age of 55, the incidence of atrial fibrillation doubles with each decade of life.
“Just in time for Heart Month, this tool addresses the prevention and care of cardiovascular diseases, which is the second leading cause of death among Canadians,” says Dr. O’Neill.
The CCS last published a set of recommendations on the diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation in 2005. Since then, major advances have been made in the management of this non-life threatening disease. In 2009, the CCS convened a panel of experts to review the knowledge and management of atrial fibrillation and to update evidence-based recommendations for primary care physicians, emergency room physicians, interns and cardiologists.
The CCS panel used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system of evaluation, created to address the shortcomings of other rating systems. The CCS is one of the first organizations to use this system.
The CCS has also developed tools to help integrate these guidelines into clinical practice. These include an easy-to-access “app” and pocket card for physicians, to be available this spring.
To view the CCS 2010 Atrial Fibrillation Guidelines, please consult the January/February issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology or visit www.ccsguidelineprograms.ca.
About the Canadian Cardiovascular Society
The Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) is the national voice for cardiovascular physicians and scientists and is more than 1900 members strong. The CCS mission is to promote cardiovascular health and care through: knowledge translation, including dissemination of research and encouragement of best practices; professional development; and leadership in health policy.
About the Canadian Journal of Cardiology
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology is the official journal of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. It is a vehicle for the national and international dissemination of new knowledge in cardiology and cardiovascular science, particularly serving as a major venue for the results of Canadian cardiovascular research and Society guidelines. The Journal publishes original reports of clinical and basic research relevant to cardiovascular medicine as well as editorials, review articles, case reports, and papers on health outcomes, policy research, ethics, medical history, and political issues affecting practice.
For more information:
Marketing and Communications Consultant
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
613-569-3407 ext. 304