Diagnosis and management of patients with atrial fibrillation
Intended for healthcare professionals

Diagnosis and management of patients with atrial fibrillation

Kay Elliott Arrhythmia nurse specialist, Cardiology, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dorchester, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the link between atrial fibrillation and associated risk factors to ensure you are well placed to provide education to patients about their risk of developing the condition

  • To support and monitor patients with atrial fibrillation, advising them about potential treatment options and referring them to suitable specialist services, where necessary

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Atrial fibrillation is a common cardiac arrhythmia and is the most frequent arrhythmia experienced by older people. It is caused by chaotic electrical activity in the atria, leading to an irregular and often rapid heart rate. Atrial fibrillation is associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, resulting from the turbulent blood flow in the atria. This article details the presentation of, and risk factors associated with, developing atrial fibrillation, the importance of reducing the risk of adverse events such as stroke, and the treatment options available. It also outlines the nursing role in the care of patients with the condition, as part of a multidisciplinary team approach.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11077


Elliott K (2018) Diagnosis and management of patients with atrial fibrillation. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11077

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 26 April 2018

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