When are chest radiography and thyroid function testing indicated following the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (Afib) (AF)?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Lawrence Rosenthal, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Answer

Chest radiographic findings are usually normal in patients with AF. However, chest radiography may provide evidence of congestive heart failure, as well as signs of lung or vascular pathology (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia). In addition, many other noncardiac diseases, such as hyperthyroidism, and many infections and inflammatory diseases, have been associated with AF. Accordingly, chest radiography, thyroid function tests, complete blood cell (CBC) count, and serum chemistry may be helpful, and other tests should be considered, depending on the patient’s presentation. If a reversible cause of AF (eg, hyperthyroidism) is found, it should be treated and the patient should be reassessed afterward.


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