New Guidelines on Atrial Fibrillation Announced

The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) joined the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Washington D.C. to present a joint education session on An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Prevention and Management of Atrial Fibrillation. The session took place on Monday, March 31st at the ACC conference in Washington D.C. and was co-chaired by PCNA President-Elect Barbara Fletcher, RN, MN, and Rhonda Cooper-Dehoff, Pham D.

The joint session was well-timed with the publication of the 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS Guidelines for the Management of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society on March 28. The highlights of the changes were reviewed by Dr. Eileen Handberg, whose presentation opened the program.

PCNA took particular interest in two new recommendations discussed in Dr. Handberg’s presentation. First was the inclusion of three novel anticoagulants in addition to Warfarin as options in the treatment armamentarium to reduce stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

Second was the incorporation of shared decision-making between the patient and the clinician in decisions around antithrombotic therapy. Shared decision-making truly brings in the concept of the patient as partner in care. It also considers not only a discussion of the relative risks of stroke and bleeding for the individual patient, but more importantly each patient’s individual preferences and values.

Other representatives of the nursing and physician community covered emerging prevention and detection strategies, ablation therapy, and the role of patient education. All faculty members emphasized the importance of a team-based approach targeting long-term clinical outcomes, quality of life and patient safety.

PCNA will soon be releasing updated patient education materials reflecting the recent changes to cholesterol guidelines, as well as a new tear-sheet series to educate patients with heart failure. The tear-sheet series is designed as five patient information sheets that can be provided to patients in a staged process, so as not to be overwhelming. PCNA collaborated with American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) on the development. Look for these and other innovative free patient education tools at

The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association has established itself as the premier organization of nursing professionals dedicated to the prevention of cardiac and other vascular diseases throughout the lifespan. PCNA’s mission includes developing and promoting nurses as leaders in this field and supporting comprehensive risk reduction strategies for individuals and populations across the lifespan. PCNA takes pride in supporting leadership, advocacy, lifelong learning and empowerment of the nursing community. To learn more about PCNA and their continuing education, free nursing tools, Annual Symposium and more, visit or join them on or twitter @heartnurses.


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