INTRODUCTION Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained supraventricular tachyarrhy - thmia. An estimated 2.3 million individuals are affected in the United States, thus making it a cardiovascular epidemic. More than 160 000 new cases a year are reported. The total mortality rate is doubled in patients with AF compared with those in sinus rhythm and can be correlated to the magnitude of underlying cardiac disease. AF is associated with a significant risk of morbidity and mortality, therefore, the epidemiology, the risk factors, the classification, and the elucidation of its mechanism become vital to managing patients.
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