Definitions of Paroxsymal, Persistant and Permanent Atrial Fibrillation

According to these guidelines, an episode of AF is defined as an event lasting greater than 30 seconds in duration. Paroxysmal AF refers to patients with spontaneous termination of the arrhythmia within 7 days of its onset. Most patients spontaneously going in and out of AF on their own fall into this category. Persistent AF refers to patients with sustained arrhythmia beyond 7 days. Most patients in this category require the use of a therapeutic intervention to restore normal sinus rhythm. Long-standing persistent AF refers to patients with uninterrupted AF for more than 1 year. Permanent AF refers to patients in which efforts to restore normal sinus rhythm have either failed or been forgone. These categories are not mutually exclusive and it is common for patients with one type of AF to exhibit overlapping features of another type. In particular, the distinction between 'long-standing persistent' and 'permanent' AF largely reflect a treatment intention to restore normal sinus rhythm, or accept AF respectively among patients who have been in AF for more than 1 year.

3 Replies

  • Is there a question here? I agree in principle with the above although there has been some discussion in medical circles over the terms persistent and permanent for some time. I think current thinking is that where chemical or electrical cardioversions have failed to produce NSR even for a short time then permanent it is.


  • Hi Bob,

    No question, I thought I'd done a "post"! Your additional point is well taken!

    I only put this in as I'd seen a few questions and while sifting through data for myself this popped up and I thought I'd throw it out there as a reference. Thanks

  • Hi Iris I thought that was the case but sometimes people are looking for confirmation of stuff they find. It has always been difficult to define AF as it is such a mongrel condition.



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