Focused 2012 update of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society atrial fibrillation guidelines: recommendations for stroke prevention and rate/rhythm control

Can J Cardiol. 2012 Mar-Apr;28(2):125-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2012.01.021.


The Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) published the complete set of 2010 Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Guidelines in the January, 2011 issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. During its deliberations, the CCS Guidelines Committee engaged to a timely review of future evidence, with periodic composition of focused updates to address clinically important advances. In 2011, results were published from 3 pivotal AF trials: the Rivaroxaban Once Daily Oral Direct Factor Xa Inhibition Compared with Vitamin K Antagonist for Prevention of Stroke and Embolism Trial in Atrial Fibrillation (ROCKET-AF), the Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation (ARISTOTLE) study, and the Permanent Atrial Fibrillation Outcome Study Using Dronedarone on Top of Standard Therapy (PALLAS), comparing dronedarone with placebo in patients with permanent AF and additional cardiovascular disease risk-factor burden. Each of these large randomized trials provided clear results with major implications for AF management. Other important evidence that has emerged since the 2010 Guidelines includes findings about prediction instruments for AF-associated stroke and bleeding risk, stroke risk in paroxysmal-AF patients, risk-benefit considerations related to oral anticoagulation in patients with chronic kidney disease, and risk/benefit considerations in the use of antiplatelet agents, alone and in combination with each other or with oral anticoagulants, in AF patients. The Guidelines Committee judged that this extensive and important new evidence required focused updating of the 2010 Guidelines with respect to stroke prevention and rate/rhythm control. This report presents the details of the new recommendations, along with the background and rationale.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control*


  • Anticoagulants