The Australian College of Nursing welcomes today’s launch of clinical guidelines outlining current best practice in the diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure.

The guidelines were developed by the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ), which sought input from a multidisciplinary group of experts.

“Atrial fibrillation effects hundreds of thousands of Australians, increasing their risk of stroke and heart failure, yet these are the first Australian clinical guidelines dealing with this condition,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said.

Research published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 2015 shows that without significant changes the prevalence of AF in Australia will increase.

“One of the reasons the guidelines released today were developed is because large numbers of AF patients are not treated with anticoagulation, despite the clear benefit of this therapy in stroke prevention,” Adjunct Professor Ward explained.

“The guidelines provide a credible source of information and advice that medical professionals, including nurses, can access to help identify patients with AF and provide them with optimal care in every setting.

“ACN endorses both guidelines and encourages the nursing profession to utilise them when caring for patients with AF and heart failure. Evidence also supports that patients who appropriately manage their conditions and are provided with best practice advice, have decreased hospitalisation, better health outcomes and an improved quality of life.

“Together we can reduce the mortality and morbidity rates associated with AF and heart failure and their growing burden on our health care resources. Between 10 and 30 per cent of patients with AF are admitted to hospital each year, and this number is growing at a rate greater than that of other cardiovascular conditions.

“The guidelines will help health care professionals more effectively prevent and treat both AF and heart failure, its risk factors and complications.”

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