Background: Treatment paradigms for atrial fibrillation (AF) are highly variable. This study explores the management practices for AF between general cardiologists and electrophysiologists in an academic institution. Methods: One hundred and eighty eight patients with AF who had primary outpatient evaluation by either a cardiologist (n = 94) or electrophysiologist (n = 94) in 2008 were selected from the North western electronic medical record and included in the study. Chart review was used to determine the type of therapy, methods of monitoring A F, antiarrhythmic drug use patterns and outcome. Results: Patients seen by cardiologists vs. electrophysiologists were older (70.3 ± 11.8 vs. 65.3 ± 10.3, p = 0.002) and had more diabetes (21.3% vs. 10.6%, p = 0.046), renal disease (29.0% vs. 9.2%, p = 0.001) and coronary artery disease (40.4% vs. 23.4%, p = 0.01). A rate control strategy was used more often (80.9% vs. 54.3%, p < 0.001), and antiarrhythmics were prescribed less (10.6% vs. 31.9%, p < 0.001) by cardiologists than electrophysiologists. Antiarrhythmic choices were amiodarone (33.3%), sotalol (20.0%), fecainide (13.3%), propafenone (13.3%), and dofetilide (23.3%) for electrophysiologists, and were limited to amiodarone (80%) and sotalol (20%) for cardiologists. After a mean follow-up of 14.0 ± 11.6 and 12.8 ± ± 11.1 months (p = 0.44) for patients managed by cardiologists and electrophysiologists, mortality was 13.8% and 6.4% (p = 0.09), respectively. Long-term ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring was used more frequently by electrophysiologists (74.4%) than by cardiologists (55.6%, p = 0.15). Conclusions: Practice patterns for treatment of AF signifcantly differ between electrophysiologists and cardiologists. Understanding specialist treatment patterns will help optimize individualized therapy for treatment of AF.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Practice patterns
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine