Academic Editors: Giuseppe Nasso and Giuseppe Santarpino
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in the setting of critically ill patients. Pneumonia, and in particular community-acquired pneumonia, is one of the most common causes of illness and hospital admission worldwide. This article aims to review the association between AF and acute diseases, with specific attention to pneumonia, from the pathophysiology to its clinical significance. Even though the relationship between pneumonia and AF has been known for years, it was once considered a transient bystander. In recent years there has been growing knowledge on the clinical significance of this arrhythmia in acute clinical settings, in which it holds a prognostic role which is not so different as compared to that of the so-called “primary” AF. AF is a distinct entity even in the setting of pneumonia, and acute critical illnesses in general, and it should therefore be managed with a guidelines-oriented approach, including prescription of anticoagulants in patients at thromboembolic risk, always considering patients’ individuality. More data on the significance of the arrhythmia in this setting will help clinicians to give patients the best possible care.