Peter Hlivák, Robert Hatala
Atrial fibrillation (AF) represents the most common persistent arrhythmia encountered in daily clinical practise and the most common arrhythmia in patients admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of a heart rhythm disorder. Thromboembolic complications and deteriorating haemodynamic impact are the reasons of substantial morbidity, mortality and impaired quality of life associated with this arrhythmia. The occurrence of AF in Western world has reached an epidemic extent. According to actual estimates more than 2,2 millions people in USA and 4,5 millions people in European Union suffer from AF. The arrhythmia affects particularly the elderly - approximately 70 % of patients with AF are in age of 65 - 80 years. AF is associated with an increased long-term risk of stroke, heart failure and all-cause mortality.