Table 2 Underlying causes of AF
Valvular heart diseaseAutonomically mediated (vagal) causes
Coronary artery diseaseAlcoholism (“holiday heart”)* or alcohol withdrawal
Heart failure* or cardiomyopathyObstructive sleep apnea* or obesity*
Genetic or familial causesPharmacologic agents (stimulants, digoxin toxicity, illicit drugs)
Post cardiac surgeryNeurologic insult
Congenital heart disease*Excessive physical exertion*
Sick sinus syndromeSepsis
Pacemaker*Pulmonary disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • AF–atrial fibrillation.

  • * Management of these risk factors prevents development or recurrence of AF.

  • Data from Gillis et al,1 Sanoski and Bauman,3 and Jin and Kosar.4