Peter Hlivák, Martin Svetlošák, Robert Hatala
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very heterogeneous arrhythmia. The quest of an appropriate and meaningful clinical classification of AF constitutes for long time a big challenge. However, several attempts resulted in equivocal classification systems. For the sake of terminology consolidation and comparability of the outcomes of future clinical studies a new clinical classification of AF was created in collaboration of American and European professional cardiologic societies. It was incorporated also in the latest (ACC/AHA/ESC 2006) guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation. This so called “4P classification” distinguishes 4 forms of AF: 1. first-detected episode of AF (primary detection), 2. paroxysmal AF, 3. persistent AF, 4. permanent AF. The advantages of the 4P classification are obvious: simplicity, practical applicability and clinical impact for further therapeutic management of patients with atrial fibrillation.