The P.I.R.A.T.E.S Mnemonic for new onset atrial fibrillation

LegendStarred Page By Legend, 9th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

Atrial fibrillation should always be evaluated for possible causes here is a mnemonic covering many of the common ones

Medical disclaimer

These medical articles are intended to generate information for laymen as well as aspiring professionals. Effort is placed into assuring the information is accurate and up to date at the time of writing. Although all the information written here is presumed to be correct at the time of writing, it should not come in place of professional medical advice and attention. In addition, medicine is a science in a developing world and what has been considered true for the past century may not be true in the immediate future.

Mnemonics in medicine

Medical students and professionals are often required to memorize large volumes of information in order that they might reproduce the information during their time of need - when faced by an exam or a patient. This has led to the development of numerous medical mnemonics which are supposed to help memorization of lists upon which the medical professional can expand if necessary based on his learning and understanding.

Acute onset atrial fibrillation

Briefly: Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) is a situation in which the atrium of the heart doesn't contract in an orderly manner. Consequently, the ventricle of the heart either contracts as it sees fit or as a response to intermittent stimuli desecending from the atrium. If a person has always had a sinus rythm and now presents with A-Fib he is said to have an acute onset of atrial fibrillation.
Every shift in the E.R. I see at least 2 or 3 of these. People are referred to the emergency room with a bout of acute onset of palpitations which, on E.C.G turns out to be an atrial fibrillation.

Significance of atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, if accompanied by a sufficiently rapid heartbeat may cause anginal symptoms and hemodynamic compromise and thus might require urgent or emergent treatment. Regardless, it is important to seek the cause of the atrial fibrillation. In order to remember the list of common causes, a mnemonic has been devised known as PIRATES.

The P.I.R.A.T.E.S mnemonic

P - pulmonary (PE, COPD)
I - Idiopathic/ Iatrogenic/Infarction/Infection
R - Rheumatic heart disease and mitRal Regugitation
A - Anemia
T - Toxins/Thyrotoxicosis
E - Electrolytes/Endocarditits/Ethanol
S - Sepsis/Stimulants


Atrial Fib, Atrial Fibrillation, Medical Mnemonic, Medical Mnemonics, Medicine, Mnemonic, Mnemonics, New Onset Atrial Fibrillation, Pirates

Meet the author

author avatar Legend
I am a practicing physician. I have spent 5 years in Yeshiva studying religion. I published a card game on wikinut and I am in a process of getting divorced

Share this page

moderator Peter B. Giblett moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar cnwriter..carolina
9th Jan 2014 (#)

fascinating although I dont understand much at the bye, those vitamins, pills etc that come in cellulose casing might be good but the cellulose does not dissolve and sits in the stomach for ever...

Reply to this comment

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Jan 2014 (#)

Nice and interesting post in every line!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Eunice Tan
10th Jan 2014 (#)

Very good post

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?