Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm abnormalities that people have. The electrical signals that control the heart are abnormal with this particular condition. Atrial fibrillation is often referred to as A-fib or AF. In this condition the heartbeat becomes irregular and the electrical signals in the top of the heart (the atria) are fast and chaotic.

As a result of this abnormality, the atria stops pumping blood effectively. Blood tends to pool in certain areas of the atria and blood clots can form. These blood clots can travel through the blood vessels to the brain causing stroke. Atrial fibrillation can be there all the time or can come and go. So, a patient can feel irregular beating and at other times the heart rhythm is normal.

Atrial fibrillation can be controlled by reducing caffeine intake, controlling blood pressure, limiting alcohol consumption to a drink or two, treating an overactive thyroid, and getting regular exercise.

There may be no symptoms from atrial fibrillation. Patients that do experience symptoms that may feel a racing heart, skipping beats, beating out of sync, chest tightness, lightheaded, dizzy or may feel like they are going to pass out. Some people have trouble breathing and cannot exercise much.

Atrial fibrillation is usually diagnosed with an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). The EKG measures the heart’s electrical activity. Other tests may include some blood tests looking for thyroid or liver problems, an echocardiogram, an ultrasound picture of the heart looking at the heart’s pumping function and checking the heart valves out. Also, a stress test on heart may also be performed to check the heart’s circulation


Treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Medications to control the heart rate or speed of the heart
  • Blood thinners to prevent blood clots from forming in the heart and to prevent strokes
  • Cardioversion – an electric shock to the heart to fix or restore a normal heartbeat
  • Atrial fibrillation ablation using either radiofrequency or cold to destroy the abnormal tissue in the heart that is causing the atrial fibrillation.
  • Pacemakers are sometimes used to regular the heartbeat
  • Surgery to create scar tissues to block the flow of the electrical signals (Maze Procedure)
Many people are able to live a normal life with atrial fibrillation, although it is very important for them to take their medications to control the heart rate and to prevent strokes.
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Windward Vein, Heart, Medispa