229. CardioNerds Rounds: Challenging Cases – Atrial Fibrillation with Dr. Hugh Calkins


Manage episode 338644981 series 2585945
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It’s another session of CardioNerds Rounds! In these rounds, Dr. Stephanie Fuentes (EP FIT at Houston Methodist) joins Dr. Hugh Calkins (Professor of Medicine and Director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory and Arrhythmia Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital) to discuss the nuances of atrial fibrillation (AF) management through challenging cases. As an author of several guideline and expert consensus statements in the management of AF and renowned clinician, educator, and researcher, Dr. Calkins gives us many pearls on the management of AF, so don’t miss these #CardsRounds! This episode is supported with unrestricted funding from Zoll LifeVest. A special thank you to Mitzy Applegate and Ivan Chevere for their production skills that help make CardioNerds Rounds such an amazing success. All CardioNerds content is planned, produced, and reviewed solely by CardioNerds. Case details are altered to protect patient health information. CardioNerds Rounds is co-chaired by Dr. Karan Desai and Dr. Natalie Stokes. Speaker disclosures: None Challenging Cases - Atrial Fibrillation with Dr. Hugh Calkins CardioNerds Rounds PageCardioNerds Episode PageCardioNerds AcademyCardionerds Healy Honor Roll CardioNerds Journal ClubSubscribe to The Heartbeat Newsletter!Check out CardioNerds SWAG!Become a CardioNerds Patron! Show notes - Challenging Cases - Atrial Fibrillation with Dr. Hugh Calkins Case #1 Synopsis: A woman in her mid-60s presents with symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). An echocardiogram has demonstrated that she has a structurally normal heart. Her primary care doctor had started Metoprolol 50 mg twice a day but she has remained symptomatic. In office, an EKG confirms AF, but she converts to sinus while there. She is seeking advice to prevent further episodes and in general wants to avoid additional medications Case #2 Takeaways We discussed several potential options for treatment. Amongst the first things we discussed was amiodarone. In a patient of this nature without structural heart disease and under the age of 70, Dr. Calkins discussed that he would probably consider amiodarone as a 2nd line option. While amiodarone may be effective in maintaining sinus rhythm in comparison to other antiarrhythmic medications like sotalol, flecainide, and propafenone, it does have significant toxicity.If antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD) were to be considered, we also discussed the options of dofetilide versus sotalol. Dofetilide typically requires inpatient initiation due to the risk of QT prolongation and Torsades. Since women tend to have longer corrected QT (QTc) intervals, high dose dofetilide may be more proarrhythmogenic in women. Though, Dr. Calkins noted that many patients don’t tolerate sotalol due to fatigue and generally dofetilide is well tolerated.When it comes to the “pill in the pocket” approach, Dr. Calkins noted that its utility is more so in patients with persistent AF that is known to not stop on its own. For instance, an individual who has AF a few times a year that is persistent may benefit from flecainide or propafenone (“in the pocket”) instead of being brought in for an electrical cardioversion. In this scenario, the first time one of these agents is used, the patient ought to be closely monitored. For our patient, her episodes were too frequent and self-terminating for a “pill in the pocket” approach to be effective.Current guideline recommendations for catheter ablation include a Class IA recommendation for patients with paroxysmal AF refractory to AADs, and a Class IIA recommendation as first-line therapy for patients with paroxysmal AF.In the 2020 ESC Atrial Fibrillation Guidelines, catheter ablation is given a Class IA recommendation to improve symptoms of AF recurrences in patients who have failed or are intolerant of one Class I or III AADs. For patients who have failed or have been intolerant of beta blocker alone for rhythm control,

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