The American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) recommended different categories for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) in 2001.


Categories of atrial fibrillation:

(1) first-detected episode

(2) recurrent paroxysmal: self-terminating and usually lasting <= 7 days

(3) recurrent persistent: not self-terminating and usually lasting > 7 days

(4) permanent: long-term, either fails cardioversion or cardioversion not attempted


Risk factors for atrial fibrillation:

(1) hypertension

(2) alcohol abuse

(3) coronary artery disease (CAD)

(4) valvular heart disease

(5) cardiomyopathy

(6) hyperthyroidism


Most patients with a first-detected episode or recurrent paroxysmal AF corrected spontaneously to normal sinus rhythm (NSR) within 48 hours of hospital admission. This may require control of any triggering condition.


A patient with recurrent persistent AF requires chemical and/or electrical cardioversion.


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