Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia and may cause thromboembolic events, typically stroke. Advances in pharmacological approaches to anticoagulation and groundbreaking large randomized controlled trials of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have changed the paradigm of anticoagulation therapy. Furthermore, observational studies support the efficacy and safety of NOAC. Few studies address the differences among NOACs, but prescriptions should be based on a thorough understanding of their pharmacological differences, including interactions, side effects, reversibility, and practical approach. In a subset of patients with AF, warfarin may still be the preferable option. Consequently, an individualized approach to oral anticoagulation is crucial.
Part of the book: Epidemiology and Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
The wearable cardioverter-defibrillator (WCD) is a rechargeable external device that can be worn under the clothing all day long and protects the wearer from potentially life-threatening ventricular tachyarrhythmias. When a dangerous arrhythmia is detected, the WCD can deliver high-energy shocks. The WCD has been shown to be effective in accurately detecting and appropriately treating ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF). It is intended for temporary use as a bridge to an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), heart transplantation, or left ventricular assist device; patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction may benefit from the WCD while their condition improves. It can be used temporarily after explant of an ICD until reimplantation is deemed possible. In select patients with myocardial infarction, a WCD may be useful during the immediate period after infarction. It is indicated for use when a permanently implanted ICD must be explanted because of infection; the patient can use the WCD until the infection resolves, and a new ICD can be implanted. The role of the WCD is emerging as an important therapeutic option to protect patients at elevated risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD).
Part of the book: Sudden Cardiac Death