Health Information Management

Know the adverse effects of atrial fibrillation

Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies, August 1, 2009

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A few months ago, I wrote a description of how atrial fibrillation (AF) with rapid ventricular response (RVR) can lead to acute di¬astolic left ventricular heart failure.

Because of the rapidity of the systole-diastole cycle, the heart doesn’t have enough time during the diastol¬ic portion of the cycle to fill the left ventricle with blood from the left atrium. As a result, there is—by definition—acute diastolic dysfunction. When that leads to backup of blood in the lungs and acute pulmonary edema, it be¬comes acute diastolic heart failure. Let’s look at some other manifestations of AF and see what it is that injures the patients—the AF or something else entirely.

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