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Implications for Nursing Care of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: Lessons Learned From the AFFIRM and RACE Studies

Kellen, Joyce C. MSc, RN

Section Editor(s): Wood, Kathryn PhD, RN

The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: March-April 2004 - Volume 19 - Issue 2 - p 128–137

Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained cardiac dysrhythmia treated in North America and Europe. As such, it is one of the current epidemics in cardiovascular disease. Findings from the AFFIRM (Atrial Fibrillation Follow-up: Investigation of Rhythm Management) and RACE (RAte Control versus Electrical cardioversion for persistent atrial fibrillation) clinical trials are presented and the current evidence for the management of atrial fibrillation using anticoagulation, rate-control, and rhythm-control strategies is outlined. Implications for nurses are discussed including physiologic and psychosocial interventions.

Joyce C. Kellen, MSc, RN, Cardiovascular Clinical Trials Coordinator, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Corresponding author: Joyce C. Kellen, MSc, RN, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Suite 1140, 3330 Hospital Dr NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4NI (e-mail:

Special thanks to Dr D. George Wyse who read the manuscript and made helpful suggestions, Mary Poole-Mickel for her comments, and Glynnis Smith for her assistance with tables.

Copyright © 2004 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved