Welcome to our summer issue (or winter issue for those subscribers who are located downunder)! Afibbers often face the problem of somehow “proving” that their AF episode has lasted less than 48 hours when they arrive in the emergency department seeking cardioversion. A study by Greek researchers now reveals that a simple blood test can predict, with considerable accuracy, the elapsed time since the onset of the episode. The test can also predict the likelihood of finding blood clots or SEC (spontaneous echocardiographic contrast) in the left atrium or left atrial appendage when undergoing transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) prior to cardioversion or ablation. It is to be hoped that this test becomes routine.
Also in this issue, we report that statin drugs do not prevent atrial fibrillation, that fish oil supplementation improves electrophysiologic properties of the heart, that gluten intolerance is linked to AF, that a larger left atrial diameter is associated with a greater risk of ablation failure, and that a high level of plasma von Willebrand factor is associated with a marked increase in the risk of stroke, other cardiovascular events, and mortality.
Rounding out this issue is an inspiring description of Don P.’s 10-year “journey” learning to live with lone atrial fibrillation. Thanks for sharing!