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New Report Available on Management of New Onset Atrial Fibrillation

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New Information from AHRQ: June 13, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced the completion of a report assessing first-line clinical strategies, excluding invasive or emerging therapies, to guide doctors in managing atrial fibrillation—a common cause of irregular heartbeat—in patients at outpatient settings. The report found that calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers are superior to digoxin in controlling high heart rates due to atrial fibrillation; warfarin, an anti-coagulant, decreases the risk of stroke by two-thirds; aspirin decreases the risk of stroke by one-third; and the use of blood thinning agents is cost-effective. The report, commissioned by AHRQ, was developed after a systematic review of the literature by a team of investigators at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC), Baltimore, MD. The topic was nominated by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The summary, Management of New Onset Atrial Fibrillation, is available online at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcsums/atrialsum.htm. Print copies are available free of charge from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by writing to P. O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907, or calling (800)358-9295, or (703) 437-2078 from outside the country. Copies of the full report are expected to be available by fall 2000.

Editor's Note: The following articles have been published by the EPC:

Segal JB, McNamara RL, Miller MR, Kim N, Goodman SN, Powe NR, Robinson K, Yu D, Bass EB. The evidence regarding the drugs used for ventricular rate control. J Fam Pract 2000; 49(1):47-59.

Segal JB, McNamara RL, Miller MR, Kim N, Goodman SN, Powe NR, Robinson K, Bass EB, for the Johns Hopkins Evidence-based Practice Center. Prevention of thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation: a meta-analysis of trials of anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs. J Gen Intern Med 2000; 15(1):56-67.

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364.

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