Non-valvular atrial fibrillation and stroke: implications for nursing practice and therapeutics

Australian College of Critical Care Nurses
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Critical Care, 2004, 17 pp. 65 - 73
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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac rhythm disturbance and is increasing in prevalence due to the ageing of the population, and rates of chronic heart failure. Haemodynamic compromise and thromboembolic events are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in Australian communities. Non-valvular AF is a significant predictor for both a higher incidence of stroke and increased mortality. Stroke affects approximately 40,000 Australians every year and is Australia's third largest killer after cancer and heart disease. The burden of illness associated with AF, the potential to decrease the risk of stroke and other embolic events by thromboprophylaxis and the implications of this strategy for nursing care and patient education, determine AF as a critical element of nursing practice and research. A review of the literature was undertaken of the CINAHL, Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane Databases from 1966 until September 2002 focussing on management of atrial fibrillation to prevent thrombotic events. This review article presents key elements of this literature review and the implications for nursing practice.
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