A problem confronting physicians in dealing with patients in whom persistent auricular fibrillation is the only apparent cardiac abnormality is whether or not to convert the rhythm to normal.
"It is of interest that the majority of these patients tolerate the arrhythmia with no disturbance of functional capacity," Francis F. Rosenbaum, MD, Milwaukee, told the annual convention in Boston of the American College of Cardiology.
On the other hand, there have been reports of congestive heart failure attributed solely to the auricular fibrillation, according to Rosenbaum.
"This sharp difference in the ability of individuals to tolerate auricular fibrillation is difficult to explain," Rosenbaum said.
"It appears that the majority of patients are able to call certain compensatory mechanisms into play whereas this ability is lacking in others or, if present, that it is not sustained."
Various studies have indicated that when auricular fibrillation is converted to normal sinus rhythm in