Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reflecting on treating patients with atrial fibrillation in the hospital

It seems only like yesterday when I was titrating Cardizem drips and adjusting heparin infusions to treat patients who were admitted to the hospital for atrial fibrillation. Now, we have new drugs like dronedarone (Multaq or SR33589) and more patients seem to be undergoing ablation. I often wonder how atrial fibrillation patients will be treated in the future. Will they even get admitted, or will they get managed as an outpatient? We'll soon have novel oral anticoagulants that don't require any INR monitoring. We'll soon have highly effective drugs to treat coronary heart disease. We'll be seeing new antiplatelet agents that utilize novel mechanisms of actions.

Sometimes, it's hard to believe how rapidly medicine is evolving. How will afib get treated in 10 years? 20 years? The standard of care will certainly evolve as new treatments emerge and as older therapies potentially get replaced with newer alternatives.

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