Heart Rhythm Society launches white paper on AF centres of excellence


The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) has released a white paper announcing the rationale and core components for Atrial Fibrillation (AF) centres of excellence (CoE), to provide multidisciplinary care for AF patients. The goal of the white paper is to help develop and guide patient-centred, integrative centers to improve treatment and outcomes associated with this common arrhythmia. Recommendations from the white paper have been released as part of HRS 2020 Science.

The white paper identifies the need for unified and comprehensive treatment of patients with AF and calls for state-of-the-art AF centres of excellence to establish a patient-centred, multidisciplinary, integrated model for AF care. The model coordinates the diversified set of existing resources, clinical settings, and healthcare disciplines while ensuring costeffectiveness. The white paper is a continuation of the work from two HRS-led meetings—a multiple stakeholder Think Tank meeting and the Interpro AFib Forum, a live educational activity.

“As the number of individuals with AF continues to increase across the globe, we’ve seen tremendous growth and progress in treatment options as well an increased understanding of the disorder. Our greatest challenge today is that we need to unify and integrate our efforts.” Said writing chair, Jonathan P Piccini, director of electrophysiology at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, USA). “With these centres, we can push the evolution of AF care forward to help the full care team work seamlessly together and put patients back at the centre of care.”

The writing group, comprised of 25 experts from international organisations, addresses the need for improving AF clinical management by delivering on four key pillars of care—risk factor  management, stroke prevention, rate control and rhythm management. Where possible, the group emphasises the need for a team-based approach from health professionals at all levels to address current uncoordinated patient care.

The white paper defines the following core components to serve as guiding principles in establishing high-quality, guideline recommended care:

  • Systematic patient identification and access to care
  • Patient-centred care
  • Cost-effective care
  • Procedural quality
  • Integrated, multidisciplinary approach
  • Patient and provider education
  • Quality improvement

“The premise of this white paper is to provide a starting point towards an approach where we can maximise our resources, ensure guidelines are being followed and make sure patients receive referrals they need,” said vice-chair, Thomas Deneke, chief physician, Heart Center Bad Neustadt, Germany. “Our organisations recognise this crucial need and we hope physicians working to improve AF outcomes will build upon this framework within their own clinics.”

HRS hopes the white paper will serve as a resource for clinicians in leadership positions to use in their planning practices supporting the importance of the core components of AF CoEs, as outlined in the white paper, to inform AF care approaches.

The full document was published in the online edition of Heart Rhythm Journal, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society.


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