I am
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Atrial fibrillation clinical guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation

Download the guidelines

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common recurring arrhythmia faced in clinical practice. It’s estimated that AF is prevalent in two to four per cent of the population in developed nations, such as Australia, and causes substantial morbidity and mortality.  

These are the first Australian guidelines on AF produced by the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. They have been developed to assist Australian practitioners in the management of adult patients with AF.  

Who can use these guidelines?  

The guidelines are written for – and intended to be used by – practising healthcare professionals across all disciplines caring for adults with AF. Some core recommendations have been informed by existing international guidelines. However, these Australian guidelines provide a focus on local practice and include some updated recommendations reflecting emerging new evidence. 

What's in the guidelines?

  • 10 new clinical resources and algorithms.  
  • New recommendations on atrial fibrillation, incorporating new evidence that has been graded on the certainty of evidence and the likely absolute benefit versus harm. 
  • New recommendations on screening and prevention, diagnostic workup, detection and management of AF risk factors and concomitant diseases, arrhythmia management, stroke prevention. 
  • Evidence and recommendations on new risk factors (obesity, sleep apnoea, sedentary lifestyle). 
  • The use of catheter ablation treatment. 
  • Combining anticoagulants and antiplatelets. 
  • A change in the stroke predictions score (the sexless CHA2DS2-VA score). 
  • Recommendations for integrated management. 

Who endorses the guidelines?

These guidelines are endorsed by: 

  • The Stroke Foundation 
  • Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) 
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) 
  • The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) 
  • The Council of Remote Area Nurses of Australia (CRANA) 
  • Australian College of Nursing (ACN) 
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).  

How were the guidelines developed

The guidelines were developed based on current evidence by the National Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. The guidelines were written by members of the working group who are leading experts in their fields and highly renowned both in Australia and overseas. 

The approach to development and consultation was designed to ensure appropriate stakeholder representation and engagement in the guideline writing process. Recommendations were developed using GRADE methodology, which assesses the certainty of evidence. Further information about the guideline development process can be found within the guidelines. 

Governance and conflicts of interest

The following documents outline the governance and process for the development of the guidelines, and the conflicts of interest for the Working and Reference Groups.  

Governance and process
Conflicts of interest register for the Reference Group
Conflicts of interest register for the Working Group

Atrial fibrillation guidelines presentations 

In 2018, the National Heart Foundation of Australia (NHFA) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) released the Australian Clinical Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Atrial Fibrillation.  

The full presentation and summary presentations of the guidelines are available below for download and can be used to present to your colleagues or work departments. 

The AF clinical guidelines and interactive tools are now also available on our Smart Heart Guidelines App. 

 

You might also be interested in

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

Heart Health Checks have been supported by Medicare since April 2019....

Acute Coronary Syndromes tools from the guidelines

Acute Coronary Syndromes tools from the guidelines

Assessment protocols and algorithm for health care professionals...

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network is the Heart Foundation’s newsletter for health professionals delivered to your inbox once a month....

For Professionals: COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

For Professionals: COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

For Professionals: COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

Information and resources for health care professionals....

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

WEBINAR | Absolute CVD risk assessment practical update

WEBINAR | Absolute CVD risk assessment practical update

A multidisciplinary panel of experts discuss the practical application of absolute CVD risk assessment through Heart Health Checks....

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

Have you thought about what you are getting for your children this Father’s Day?...

Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) clinical guidelines

Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) clinical guidelines

Guidelines for acute coronary syndromes for clinical care of patients presenting with suspected or confirmed ACS....

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

Ask the experts: caring for people with CVD during COVID-19...

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Research Directory

Research Directory

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Sit less, move more

Sit less, move more

Sit less, move more

You may be surprised to know that on average, adults sit for nine hours a day....

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Are you at risk of heart disease? 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Are you at risk of heart disease? 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Are you at risk of heart disease? 

Preventing heart disease starts with knowing your risk factors and making changes to live a healthier life. ...

Heart failure clinical resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

We want to make it easier for South Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Resources to help support your council region to be healthy, connected and safe....

Heart disease and pregnancy

Heart disease and pregnancy

Heart disease and pregnancy

Pregnancy is often referred to as the “ultimate stress test” for the body....

Chicken recipes

Chicken recipes

Chicken recipes

Find heart healthy chicken recipes....

Pumpkin falafel wraps

Pumpkin falafel wraps

Pumpkin falafel wraps

10 minutes
Serves Serves 4 (as a main meal)

Guidelines for the assessment and management of Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Guidelines for the assessment and management of Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Guidelines for the assessment and management of Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Position Description: Consumer Representative for the update of the Guidelines for the assessment and management of Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk ...

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

The Heart Foundation delivers innovative, evidence-based programs and initiatives to support and prevent heart disease in Australia...

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

Ask the experts: caring for people with CVD during COVID-19...

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

12 minutes
Serves 6 (as a side)

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information on women and heart disease for consumers....

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk....

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

At first, it didn’t cross my mind it could be something serious. ...

For professionals: Heart failure tools and resources

For professionals: Heart failure tools and resources

Resources for healthcare professionals on the management of patients with heart failure ...

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Know what your heart medicines are for and how to take them. ...

Roast vegetable pasta

Roast vegetable pasta

30 minutes
Serves 6 (as a side)

Research shows if you have gum disease, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease.

Research shows if you have gum disease, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease.

Research shows if you have gum disease, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease.

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos

5 minutes
Serves 1

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Find heart healthy seafood recipes...

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where your heart beats irregularly and fast....

Chicken fajitas

Chicken fajitas

20 minutes
Serves 4

Cardiovascular disease risk factors and heart attack warning signs in women

Cardiovascular disease risk factors and heart attack warning signs in women

Cardiovascular disease risk factors and heart attack warning signs in women

Information for healthcare professionals and the public on cardiovascular disease risk factors and warning signs affecting women. ...

Become a corporate partner

Become a corporate partner

Become a corporate partner

Partner with us to help us fight for Australian hearts....

WEBINAR | Pressure rising: Clinical controversies and updates in hypertension

WEBINAR | Pressure rising: Clinical controversies and updates in hypertension

WEBINAR | Pressure rising: Clinical controversies and updates in hypertension