Atrial Fibrillation Causes Symptoms,
Information, and Treatment
The heart has two upper chambers and two lower
chambers. Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the upper chambers of the heart contract at a very
high rate and in an entirely disorganised manner. The risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age AF
affects four percent of individuals in their 80s. The heart contracts (beats) and pumps blood with a regular
rhythm, for example, at a rate of 60 beats per minute there is a beat every second. The rate of impulses through
the atria can range from 300 to 600 beats per minute.
Atrial fibrillation is often asymptomatic, but may result in symptoms
of palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or even heart failure. In addition, the erratic motion of the atria leads to
blood stagnation ( stasis ) which increases the risk of blood clots that may travel from the heart to the brain and
other areas. Several medications as well as electrical cardioversion may be used to convert AF to a normal heart
rhythm. Surgical and catheter-based therapies may also be used to prevent atrial fibrillation in certain
individuals. People with AF are often given blood thinners such as warfarin to protect them from
Causes of Atrial
The common Causes of Atrial Fibrillation:
Congenital heart disease.
Chronic lung disease.
Heart valve disease.
After heart surgery.
Hypertension (high blood pressure).
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
Some Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation:
Shortness of breath.
Pulse may feel rapid, racing, pounding, fluttering, or it can feel too
Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
Drugs (such as ibutilide)
can sometimes restore the heart's normal rhythm. These drugs are given under medical supervision, and are delivered
through an IV tube into a vein, usually in the patient's arm.
Electrical cardioversion may
be used to restore normal heart rhythm with an electric shock, when medication doesn't improve symptoms.
Surgery can be used to
disrupt electrical pathways that generate AF.
Radiofrequency ablation may be effective in some patients when medications don't
work. In this procedure, thin and flexible tubes are introduced through a blood vessel and directed to the heart
muscle. Then a burst of radiofrequency energy is delivered to destroy tissue that triggers abnormal electrical
signals or to block abnormal electrical pathways.
Atrial pacemakers can be implanted under the skin to regulate the heart
Medications are used to slow down rapid heart rate associated with AF. These
treatments may include drugs such as digoxin, beta blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol), amiodarone,
disopyramide, calcium antagonists (verapamil, diltiazam), sotalol, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine,
Juliet Cohen writes health articles for diseases and disorders. She also writes
articles on women beauty tips.
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