Article Text

PDF

Treatment of atrial fibrillation in a district general hospital.
  1. G. Y. Lip,
  2. K. N. Tean,
  3. F. G. Dunn
  1. Department of Cardiology, Stobhill General Hospital, Glasgow.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE--To assess current strategies used to investigate and manage acute atrial fibrillation in hospital. DESIGN--Prospective survey of all acute admissions over 6 months. SETTING--District general hospital serving a population of 230,000 in north east Glasgow. SUBJECTS--2686 patients admitted as emergency cases over 6 months. RESULTS--Of the 2686 patients, 170 (age range 38-95, mean (SD) 73.5 (10.6) years; 70 men (41%) and 100 women (59%)) were admitted with atrial fibrillation. The principal underlying medical conditions were ischaemic heart disease in 79 (46.5%), rheumatic heart disease in 26 (15.3%), and thyroid disease in six (3.5%). Cardiac failure was present on admission in 61 (36%), cerebrovascular events in 23 (14%), and myocardial infarction in 17 (10%). Of those with a history of atrial fibrillation (102 (60%) including 10 with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) treatment on admission included digoxin in 71 (70%), warfarin in 20 (20%), and aspirin in 17 (17%); the aspirin was predominantly given for concomitant vascular disease. The mean (SD) inpatient stay was 16 days (19.7) (range 1-154) largely due to the patients with stroke. Thyroid function tests were performed in only 63% and echocardiography in 33%. Overall, the rate of introduction of anticoagulation (seven patients) and attempted cardioversion (21 patient: 19 pharmacological and two electrical) was surprisingly low. Only 49 patients (34% of those not on warfarin) had contraindications to anticoagulation: these included peptic ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding in 18 (12%), dementia in eight (6%), chronic renal failure or dialysis in eight (6%), and alcohol excess in four (3%). CONCLUSION--Standard investigations were inadequately used in patients with atrial fibrillation and there was a reluctance to perform cardioversion or to start anticoagulant treatment.

    Statistics from Altmetric.com

    Request permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.