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ABSTRACT OF THE WEEK

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI
Volume 12 | Issue 6 (March 2022)

Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation in Horses: Pathophysiology, Diagnostics and Clinical Aspects.

Animals (Basel). March 2022;12(6):.
Sofie Troest Kjeldsen1, Sarah Dalgas Nissen2, Rikke Buhl3, Charlotte Hopster-Iversen4
1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Agrovej 8, DK-2630 Taastrup, Denmark.; 2 Laboratory of Cardiac Physiology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3B, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.; 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Agrovej 8, DK-2630 Taastrup, Denmark.; 4 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Agrovej 8, DK-2630 Taastrup, Denmark.

Abstract

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in horses causing poor performance. As in humans, the condition can be intermittent in nature, known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (pAF). This review covers the literature relating to pAF in horses and includes references to the human literature to compare pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnostic tools and treatment. The arrhythmia is diagnosed by auscultation and electrocardiography (ECG), and clinical signs can vary from sudden loss of racing performance to reduced fitness or no signs at all. If left untreated, pAF may promote electrical, functional and structural remodeling of the myocardium, thus creating a substrate that is able to maintain the arrhythmia, which over time may progress into permanent AF. Long-term ECG monitoring is essential for diagnosing the condition and fully understanding the duration and frequency of pAF episodes. The potential to adapt human cardiac monitoring systems and computational ECG analysis is therefore of interest and may benefit future diagnostic tools in equine medicine.

Keywords
arrhythmia; electrocardiogram; equine cardiology; implantable loop recorder; long-term monitoring device; paroxysmal atrial fibrillation; poor performance;

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