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Course # 90822 • Clinical Management of Atrial Fibrillation


Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common arrhythmias encountered in clinical practice today. Current treatment options for atrial fibrillation include pharmacological cardioversion, direct current electric cardioversion, radiofrequency ablation, and long-term rate control with a wide variety of oral antiarrhythmic medications. The specific treatment(s) selected to manage atrial fibrillation in adult patients must be tailored to each individual's needs, clinical symptoms, and response to any previous treatment. The efficacy, safety, and cost of the treatment option must also be evaluated. This course will review current treatment options for the clinical management of atrial fibrillation, including indications for use, risks, and criteria for evaluating the treatment's efficacy. Recommendations from the American Heart Association and Agency for Healthcare Research and Practice will be reviewed. Finally, the clinical management of a patient with acute onset atrial fibrillation and a patient with chronic atrial fibrillation will be explored in depth through the use of simulated case studies.

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Education Category: Medical / Surgical

Release Date: 11/01/2017

Expiration Date: 10/31/2020


This course is designed for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and other healthcare professionals working in an adult healthcare setting, where they are likely to encounter patients who are (or should be) receiving medical intervention for control of atrial fibrillation.


In support of improving patient care, NetCE is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. NetCE is approved to offer continuing education through the Florida Board of Nursing Home Administrators, Provider #50-2405. NetCE is approved by the California Nursing Home Administrator Program as a provider of continuing education. Provider number 1622. NetCE is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). NetCE complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognized internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices. As a result of this accreditation, NetCE is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.

Designations of Credit

This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 10 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit(s) for learning and change. NetCE designates this enduring material for a maximum of 10 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 10 ANCC contact hour(s). NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 4 pharmacotherapeutic/pharmacology contact hour(s). NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 12 hours for Alabama nurses. Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 10 MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider's responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit. Completion of this course constitutes permission to share the completion data with ACCME. This home study course is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing Home Administrators for 5 credit hour(s). This course is approved by the California Nursing Home Administrator Program for 10 hour(s) of continuing education credit - NHAP#1622010-7141/P. California NHAs may only obtain a maximum of 10 hours per course. AACN Synergy CERP Category A. NetCE is authorized by IACET to offer 1 CEU(s) for this program.

Individual State Nursing Approvals

In addition to states that accept ANCC, NetCE is approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by: Alabama, Provider #ABNP0353, (valid through November 21, 2021); Arkansas, Provider #50-2405; California, BRN Provider #CEP9784; California, LVN Provider #V10662; California, PT Provider #V10842; District of Columbia, Provider #50-2405; Florida, Provider #50-2405; Georgia, Provider #50-2405; Kentucky, Provider #7-0054 through 12/31/2021; South Carolina, Provider #50-2405. South Carolina, Provider #50-2405; West Virginia RN and APRN, Provider #50-2405.

Special Approvals

This activity is designed to comply with the requirements of California Assembly Bill 1195, Cultural and Linguistic Competency.

Course Objective

The purpose of this course is to provide a basic review of current treatment options for the management of atrial fibrillation and indications for use, risks, and criteria for evaluating the treatment's efficacy.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe cardiac conduction and the components of an ECG waveform.
  2. Use your knowledge of the pathophysiology of atrial fibrillation, including key defining characteristics, to differentiate it from other arrhythmias and predict impact on normal functioning.
  3. Outline common cardiac and noncardiac causes of atrial fibrillation.
  4. List key clinical data, including subjective symptoms, past medical history, physical assessment findings, and diagnostic/laboratory tests, important to obtain when assessing a patient with atrial fibrillation.
  5. Identify key components that should be considered in the development of the medical plan of care, including the issue of generic drug substitution.
  6. Compare and contrast antiarrhythmic medications appropriate to use for acute and chronic rate control for patients with atrial fibrillation.
  7. Outline the use of pharmacologic therapy in the restoration of normal sinus rhythm, including indications for use and procedure for administration.
  8. Describe electrical cardioversion, including indications and pre- and postprocedure care.
  9. Discuss antiarrhythmic medications that may be used to maintain normal sinus rhythm in a patient following successful spontaneous, electrical, or pharmacologic cardioversion.
  10. Select appropriate pharmacologic measures that may be used to reduce risk of thromboembolic events in persons with atrial fibrillation.
  11. Discuss the use of radiofrequency ablation of the atrioventricular (AV) node in the clinical management of atrial fibrillation.
  12. Describe the causes and recommended management of atrial fibrillation in adult patients following coronary artery bypass graft surgery and in patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
  13. Using simulated case study data, develop a best practice strategy for the clinical management of atrial fibrillation.


Karen Majorowicz, RN, is currently employed in the Cardiac Intermediate Care Unit at Shands Healthcare at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She received her Master's in Medical-Surgical Nursing in 1978 from the University of Maryland. Karen has created numerous instructional manuals on Medicare and has conducted educational programs on cardiovascular assessment.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Karen Majorowicz, RN, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planners

John M. Leonard, MD

Jane C. Norman, RN, MSN, CNE, PhD

Division Planners Disclosure

The division planners have disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

Technical Requirements

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