Management of recent-onset sustained atrial fibrillation: Pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic strategies

Dennis H. Lau, Jonathan Kalman, Prashanthan Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Recent studies have highlighted significant variations in the management of recent-onset sustained atrial fibrillation (AF). We aim to provide a succinct and clear management algorithm for physicians treating patients with recent-onset sustained AF. Methods: We performed a comprehensive search of the literature on the management of recent-onset sustained AF with focus on studies reporting cardioversion of AF, antiarrhythmic agents, and anticoagulation. We also reviewed recent practice guidelines on AF management. Findings: This review provides a guide on a tailored management approach of patients with recent-onset sustained AF. After initial detailed clinical assessment, optimal rate and rhythm control options can be provided, depending on hemodynamic stability, duration of AF episode, and AF stroke risk. Issues surrounding electrical and pharmacologic cardioversion are discussed in detail. We emphasize the importance of thromboembolic risk assessment and appropriate anticoagulation surrounding the point of cardioversion. Last, we highlighted the need for appropriate specialized follow-up care after acute AF management. Implications: Despite the highly heterogeneous clinical presentations, management of recent-onset sustained AF must include stroke risk assessment, appropriate anticoagulation, and follow-up care in all patients beyond optimum rate and rhythm control strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1159
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Sep 2014


  • Antiarrhythmic drugs
  • Anticoagulation
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Electrical cardioversion.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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