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See detailIs appropriate management of atrial fibrillation in primary care a utopia?
Lygidakis, Charilaos UL; Argyriadou, Stella; Lygera, Anastasia

in Journal of primary care & community health (2010), 1(1), 17-21

OBJECTIVE: The authors aimed at reporting on whether or not primary care doctors follow atrial fibrillation (AF) treatment protocols, and on the mental distress of such patients. METHODS: A total of 138 ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: The authors aimed at reporting on whether or not primary care doctors follow atrial fibrillation (AF) treatment protocols, and on the mental distress of such patients. METHODS: A total of 138 patients with first detected or recurrent AF were examined in a health center. Demographic data were collected and their lifestyle and medical history for rhythm-related pathologies and chronic medication were investigated. Physical examination, electrocardiogram (EKG), and in selected cases, lab analysis were carried-out. CHADS2 index was used for assessing the stroke risk in patients with AF, while the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) for personal health perception was performed in all patients. RESULTS: According to CHADS2 the majority of the patients had at least 1 risk factor and half of those receiving oral vitamin K antagonists presented an out-of-range international normalized ratio (INR). In 24 cases, patients used both aspirin and oral anticoagulants, while in 41 cases, medication was corrected according to index. GHQ-12 seemed to be significantly worse in paroxysmal and persistent cases, as well as in women with recurrent AF. Many paroxysmal AF patients under 75 years continued caffeine intake, whereas an extensive use of benzodiazepines was noticed in the majority of patients. CONCLUSIONS: Shortages and limitations of the peripheral or rural units and health centers and inadequate knowledge and application of the guidelines, seemed to be major factors responsible for mismanaging AF patients. More education in prehospital cardiology may contribute in improving management of arrhythmias in primary care. [less ▲]

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