Atrial fibrillation in women: treatment

Nat Rev Cardiol. 2017 Feb;14(2):113-124. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2016.171. Epub 2016 Oct 27.


Sex-specific differences in the epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentation, prognosis, and treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) are increasingly recognized. Women with AF generally experience worse symptoms, poorer quality of life, and have higher risk of stroke and death than men with AF. Effective treatment of the arrhythmia in women is critical to reduce the rate of adverse events. We review the current evidence on sex-specific differences in the utilization and outcomes of treatments for AF, including rate-control and rhythm-control strategies, and stroke-prevention therapy. In addition, we provide a critical evaluation of potential disparities and biases in health-care use that might be associated with differences in the outcomes between women and men. We underscore current knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in future studies to improve the management of AF in women. In particular, we suggest several strategies to produce high-quality evidence from randomized clinical trials for women with AF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / psychology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Management / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors