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Table 1 Consequences of AF in affected individuals.

From: Can we improve outcomes in AF patients by early therapy?

Death death rates are doubled in AF patients. This effect is independent of known other cardiovascular risk factors or concomitant disease. Death rates are also increased in patients with a myocardial infarction or in heart failure patients when AF is added to their disease pattern.
Stroke Approximately every 4th stroke is due to AF. The possibility of "silent", undiagnosed AF - which is common in trials using systematic ECG monitoring -, may suggest that AF is also a potential cause of "cryptogenic" stroke.
Quality of life is markedly reduced in AF patients, due to their symptoms but possibly also due to an unrecognized effect of AF on social functioning, cerebral function, or other factors. It is conceivable that AF-related hospitalizations contribute to reduced quality of life in AF patients.
Rhythm AF causes arrhythmia absoluta and impairs rate adaptation of heart beat to demand. Abnormal heart rate can cause symptoms ranging from palpitations to acute chest pain or cardiac decompensation, especially when ventricular rate is inadequate.
Left ventricular function is impaired by AF, especially in patients with known heart failure or with a tendency to develop heart failure. Restoring sinus rhythm and maintaining effective heart rate control can prevent such AF-induced decline of heart failure.
  1. Other relevant outcomes in AF are indicated in [6, 13].