Management of atrial fibrillation: easy as ABC

Minerva Med. 2019 Feb;110(1):27-34. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4806.18.05824-X. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the commonest sustained arrhythmia with increasing incidence worldwide. AF is a major cause of morbidity (resulting from heart failure, stroke and hospitalization) and mortality. The aim of primary and specialist care is to improve patient outcome through early detection of AF and optimal clinical management. In this review, we present the ABC Pathway for the holistic, integrated management of patients diagnosed with AF: "A" avoid stroke with anticoagulation; "B" for better symptom management with patient-centered, symptom directed decisions on rate or rhythm control; and "C" cardiovascular and comorbidity risk reduction, including lifestyle factors and psychological morbidity. We discuss the evidence underpinning this strategy and highlight areas of further research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Decision Trees
  • Humans
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control


  • Anticoagulants