[The practice guideline 'Atrial fibrillation' from the Dutch College of General Practitioners; a response from the perspective of general practice]
until further notice
SourceNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 148, 29, (2004), pp. 1423-5
Article / Letter to editor
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Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
SubjectEBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health
The practice guideline 'Atrial fibrillation' (AF) from the Dutch College of General Practitioners is a clearly written survey on the diagnosis and treatment of AF in general practice. Rapid cardioversion is no longer an indication for acute referral in AF. As AF, heart failure and COPD often occur simultaneously among elderly people, the exact cause of the symptoms can be unclear. In these complicated cases, with the risk of polypharmacy, a single consultation between general practitioner and cardiologist would be more effective. For control of the rate of ventricular contraction during the treatment of AF, lipophilic beta-blockers are preferable to hydrophilic beta-blockers because the pharmacokinetics in elderly people are substantially different. When there is a high risk of thrombo-embolic complications with AF, treatment with coumarin derivatives is advised. However, little research has been done on this subject among elderly people in a general practice setting. In this age group, the risk of complications due to treatment with coumarin derivatives is sometimes higher than the advantages it offers. This is why the GP should always consider carefully whether or not elderly people with AF should be treated with coumarin derivatives.
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