New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation: What's the Significance?

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The most common dysrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (AF) affects more than 1% of the general population, with a peak prevalence of 10% in those older than 80.1,2 In a study examining the trends of AF-related hospitalizations in the United States, overall hospitalizations increased by 23% from 2000 to 2010, particularly in people over 65.3 By 2050, an estimated 16 million U.S. patients will have AF.2
Even though clinicians have an arsenal of interventions to manage this dysrhythmia, AF can result in many health issues that can have catastrophic effects on a patient's hemodynamic stability and quality of life. This article provides a basic overview of AF to help nurses in various practice settings not only to better understand AF, but also to assess patients with AF and intervene appropriately.
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