The current estimate of the prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in the developed world is approximately 1.5–2% of the general population, with the average age of patients with this condition steadily rising, such that it now averages between 75 and 85 years. The arrhythmia is associated with a five-fold risk of stroke and a three-fold incidence of congestive heart failure, and higher mortality. Hospitalization of patients with AF is also very common. This arrhythmia is a major cardiovascular challenge in modern society and its medical, social and economic aspects are all set to worsen over the coming decades. Fortunately a number of valuable treatments have been devised in recent years that may offer some solution to this problem.
Eur Heart J 2012;33:2719-47