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Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Update

Jason LucasBy Jason Lucas, PhD, PA-C

When I finished my PA training in 2001, I thought I was ready for anything in medicine. I soon found my passion in the cardiovascular arena. As I have grown in the profession, there are a few areas of real interest. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a fascinating disease that is often downplayed in the general populations. I remember back in school, we spent about 5min discussing Afib. But as time has gone on, so has the understanding of diagnosis and treatment of Atrial Fib.
In the outpatient environment, many people have AF and don’t know it. They will show up in your office and say, I have periods of not feeling well but overall I’m ok. An EKG for this type of patient is helpful, but a holter monitor might be even better since they are likely in paroxysmal AF and you’re trying to catch it. There are many levels of AF and many different causes. The levels range from PAF to permanent AF. The ACC just put out some information on recent studies that show AF in women appears to have graver consequences than AF in men.
In the inpatient environment, we are treating many different levels of AF. Patients in the hospital will have out of control rates- referred to rapid ventricular response to rate controlled relatively asymptomatic AF. Treatment strategies and approaches vary as well. I will be discussing AF upcoming in Orlando for the Skin Bones Hearts and Private Parts team. I hope you will join the conference.