Atrial Fibrillation: Inflammation in Disguise?

Authors

  • K. T. Lappegård,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
    • Coronary Care Unit, Division of Internal Medicine, Nordland Hospital, Bodø, Norway
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  • A. Hovland,

    1. Coronary Care Unit, Division of Internal Medicine, Nordland Hospital, Bodø, Norway
    2. Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
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  • G. A. M. Pop,

    1. Department of Cardiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • T. E. Mollnes

    1. Research Laboratory, Nordland Hospital, Bodø, Norway
    2. University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
    3. Department of Immunology, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Norway
    4. University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
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Correspondence to: K. T. Lappegård, MD, PhD, Coronary Care Unit, Division of Internal Medicine, Nordland Hospital, Bodø, Norway and Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway.E-mail: knut.tore.lappegard@gmail.com

Abstract

Atrial fibrillation is highly prevalent, and affected patients are at an increased risk of a number of complications, including heart failure and thrombo-embolism. Over the past years, there has been increasing interest in the role of inflammatory processes in atrial fibrillation, from the first occurrence of the arrhythmia to dreaded complications such as strokes or peripheral emboli. As the standard drug combination which aims at rate control and anticoagulation only offers partial protection against complications, newer agents are needed to optimize treatment. In this paper, we review recent knowledge regarding the impact of inflammation on the occurrence, recurrence, perpetuation and complications of the arrhythmia, as well as the role of anti-inflammatory therapies in the treatment for the disease.

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