Treatment of atrial fibrillation: a comprehensive review and practice guide

Cardiovasc J Afr. 2020;31(3):153-158. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2019-064. Epub 2020 Mar 18.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an ectopic rhythm originating in the atrium. AF is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia in clinical practice and it is an enormous burden worldwide because of the high rates of morbidity, disability and mortality. Treatment of AF has become a hot spot in the field of cardiovascular medicine. Recently, increasing evidence and advancements in medical technology have helped us gain a better understanding of AF. As a result, management of AF has evolved in the past few years, so that we can better prevent and control AF. Current therapy for AF mainly includes drug therapy, catheter ablation, cryoballoon ablation, left atrial appendage closure and the maze procedure. The goal of this article is to update current treatment options for AF. We hope that this article will help deliver good care to AF patients based on the current state-of-the-art evidence.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; catheter ablation; cryoballoon ablation; drug therapy; left atrial appendage closure; maze procedure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Atrial Appendage / physiopathology
  • Atrial Appendage / surgery*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy*
  • Catheter Ablation* / adverse effects
  • Cryosurgery* / adverse effects
  • Electric Countershock* / adverse effects
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Anticoagulants