Given its complexity, the management of atrial fibrillation (AF) has relied increasingly on expert guideline recommendations; however, discrepancies among these professional societies can lead to confusion among practicing clinicians. This article compares the recommendations in the 2019 American Heart Association (AHA)/American College of Cardiology (ACC)/Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), the 2020 European Society of Cardiology (ESC), and the 2020 Canadian Cardiovascular Society/Canadian Heart Rhythm Society (CCS/CHRS) AF guidelines. Although many of the recommendations are fundamentally similar, there are important differences between guidelines. Specifically, key differences are present in: 1) Definitions and classification of AF; 2) The role of opportunistic detection; 3) Symptom and quality-of-life evaluation; 4) Stroke-risk stratification, and the indication for oral anticoagulation (OAC) therapy; 5) the role of aspirin in stroke prevention for AF patients; 6) the antithrombotic regimens employed in the context of coronary artery disease; 7) the role of OAC, and specifically non-vitamin K direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs), in patients with chronic and end-stage renal disease; 8) the target heart rate for patients treated with a rate-control strategy, along with the medications recommended to achieve the heart-rate target; and 9) the role of catheter ablation as first-line therapy or in patients with heart failure. These differences highlight areas of continuing clinical uncertainty where there are important needs and opportunities for future investigative work.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.