New ideas about atrial fibrillation 50 years on

Nature. 2002 Jan 10;415(6868):219-26. doi: 10.1038/415219a.


Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which control of heart rhythm is taken away from the normal sinus node pacemaker by rapid activity in different areas within the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. This results in rapid and irregular atrial activity and, instead of contracting, the atria only quiver. It is the most common cardiac rhythm disturbance and contributes substantially to cardiac morbidity and mortality. For over 50 years, the prevailing model of atrial fibrillation involved multiple simultaneous re-entrant waves, but in light of new discoveries this hypothesis is now undergoing re-evaluation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / etiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / genetics
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / therapy
  • Electrophysiology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Pulmonary Veins / physiopathology
  • Sinoatrial Node / physiopathology