Over 6 million Europeans suffer from this arrhythmia, and its prevalence is estimated to at least double in the next 50 years as the population ages.
It is now 4 years since the last AF guideline was published, and a new version is now needed.
The level of evidence and the strength of recommendation of particular treatment options are weighed and graded according to pre-defined scales, as outlined in The experts of the writing panels have provided disclosure statements of all relationships they may have that might be perceived as real or potential sources of conflicts of interest.
These disclosure forms are kept on file at the European Heart House, headquarters of the ESC.
Permission can be obtained upon submission of a written request to Oxford University Press, the publisher of the Guidelines summarize and evaluate all currently available evidence on a particular issue with the aim of assisting physicians in selecting the best management strategy for an individual patient suffering from a given condition, taking into account the impact on outcome, as well as the risk–benefit ratio of particular diagnostic or therapeutic means. The legal implications of medical guidelines have been discussed previously.Once the document has been finalized and approved by all the experts involved in the Task Force, it is submitted to outside specialists for review.The document is revised, finally approved by the CPG, and subsequently published.Any changes in conflict of interest that arise during the writing period must be notified to the ESC.The Task Force report received its entire financial support from the ESC and was developed without any involvement of the pharmaceutical, device, or surgical industry.A critical evaluation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures is performed, including assessment of the risk–benefit ratio.Estimates of expected health outcomes for larger societies are included, where data exist.Clinical frustration has been fuelled by numerous clinical trials that have demonstrated that the strategic aim of maintaining sinus rhythm has no demonstrable value when compared with the approach of leaving AF unchecked apart from restriction of the ventricular rate.No advantage from strict rate control has been established.The recommendations for formulating and issuing ESC Guidelines can be found on the ESC Web Site (In brief, experts in the field are selected and undertake a comprehensive review of the published evidence for management and/or prevention of a given condition.