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HRS: New Guidelines for Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

International consensus should improve patient care

MONDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- The Heart Rhythm Society presented new guidelines for catheter and surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation at its 28th annual Scientific Sessions in Denver. Patients should only be considered for the procedure if they have symptoms so severe that they interfere with quality of life and they have tried at least one type of antiarrhythmic medication unsuccessfully, the guidelines state.

Compared with other procedures, ablation of atrial fibrillation is riskier, more difficult and requires more careful follow-up. With this in mind, the Heart Rhythm Society emphasized six fundamental principles for providers, including appropriate patient selection, anatomical knowledge, conceptual knowledge of ablation strategies, technical expertise, ability to manage complications and follow-up.

"These guidelines are a major step toward helping physicians provide better, safer and more consistent care for heart patients worldwide," said Hugh Calkins, M.D., chair of the Heart Rhythm Society's scientific and clinical guidelines committee, in a statement.

The guidelines are based on an international consensus. "We felt it was important to develop these guidelines so that patients in every corner of the world can receive the highest quality of care available," said Josep Brugada, M.D., Ph.D., president-elect of the European Heart Rhythm Association, in a statement.

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