I am
Show me:
Show me:
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Atrial fibrillation clinical guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation

Download the guidleines

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. 


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. 

WHAT NEXT?

Heart Health Checks: Information for healthcare professionals

Heart Health Checks: Information for healthcare professionals

Heart Health Checks have been supported by Medicare since the 1 April 2019....

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

The Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk (CVD) Guidelines helps healthcare professionals identify, prevent and manage a person's risk of developing CVD. ...

Heart failure clinical tools

Heart failure clinical tools

Discover a range of heart failure tools derived from the guidelines for the Prevention, Detection, and Management of Heart Failure in Australia 2018. ...

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

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 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....

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Absolute CVD risk charts

Absolute CVD risk charts

Absolute Risk charts provide a visual tool to calculate CVD risk for use in practice in Australia....

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....

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Absolute CVD risk assessment practical update webinar

Absolute CVD risk assessment practical update webinar

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

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

The Australian Guideline for Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease (2nd Edition)​....

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Atrial fibrillation clinical resources for healthcare professionals

Atrial fibrillation clinical resources for healthcare professionals

Clinical resources for healthcare professionals including algorithms and key practice points....

Heart failure clinical resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Atrial fibrillation interactive tools from the guidelines

Atrial fibrillation interactive tools from the guidelines

Atrial fibrillation interactive tools from the guidelines

These tools and algorithms are for healthcare professionals and have been developed from the Australian Clinical Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Atrial Fibrillation 2018. ...

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

The prevalence of depression is high in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

Heart failure clinical resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Clinical resources for health care professionals to improve the management of patients with heart failure. ...

Heart failure clinical factsheets

Heart failure clinical factsheets

Information about the diagnosis, classification and pharmacological management of heart failure. ...

Heart failure clinical guidelines

Heart failure clinical guidelines

Guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of heart failure....

Heart failure diagnosis and care webinar

Heart failure diagnosis and care webinar

Improving diagnosis and care for heart failure patients....

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management resources for health professionals...

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Clinical information and links to SCAD resources....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in Australian women. ...

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Join the Cook with Heart Challenge as seen on Channel 7...

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

This booklet is for those diagnosed with heart disease and their support people....

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Your role as a carer for a heart attack patient is an important one – explore some useful things to know....

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Get the right balance of healthy fats in your diet ...

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

All you need to know about keeping active during COVID-19....

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease occurs when a coronary artery clogs and narrows because of a buildup of plaque....

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Working together to save Australian hearts...

Key Statistics: Coronary Heart Disease

Key Statistics: Coronary Heart Disease

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Search our current researcher's and the ground breaking research being undertaken....

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

Emotional wellbeing is like having a garden, sometimes it grows green on its own, other times it needs watering, cutting back or fertilising....

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

Let’s dive into nine common food and health myths and the facts behind them....

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

The program works with local communities to improve heart healthcare in Pilbara communities...

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

Kim shares the emotional and physical upheaval experienced on her journey to diagnosis and recovery....

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

The prevalence of depression is high in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Every day, 22 women lose their lives to this condition....

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Resources to help manage your grant, scholarship or fellowship....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Information and resources for health professionals who are treating patients between 18 - 40 years of age....

My health for life program

My health for life program

The Heart Foundation is a proud supporter of the Queensland My health for life program...

Smoking and your heart

Smoking and your heart

Smoking and your heart

Understand how smoking can impact your heart health. ...

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Honour the life of a loved one with a donation to the Heart Foundation. Your donation offers hope for Australian hearts....