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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 22 (2015), Issue 3, Pages 179-182
Focused Review

New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation in Critically Ill Patients

Stephanie Sibley and John Muscedere

Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2015 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


New-onset atrial fibrillation is a common problem in critically ill patients, with reported incidence ranging from 5% to 46%. It is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The present review summarizes studies investigating new-onset atrial fibrillation conducted in the critical care setting, focusing on the etiology, management of the hemodynamically unstable patient, rate versus rhythm control, ischemic stroke risk and anticoagulation. Recommendations for an approach to management in the intensive care unit are drawn from the results of these studies.