Does Reversible AF Exist? Or is AF Just AF?

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Michael Quon
Louise Pilote



Self-limited or transient atrial fibrillation (AF) occurring during an acute reversible, precipitant has been referred to as secondary AF, temporary cause of AF (TCAF), and AF occurring transiently during stress (McIntyre et al).  Alternatively, it has been classified as either ‘reversible’ versus ‘provoked’ AF, varying in terms of underlying cardiac substrate and risk for AF recurrence.  Given it was described in prior American Heart Association / American College of Cardiology / Heart Rhythm Society guidelines, we continue using the defining term ‘secondary AF’.   In this article, we review prior studies and provide an overview of long-term management approaches to secondary AF.  We will use the term ‘primary AF’ to describe established AF, without an associated secondary cause.


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