Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial Fibrillation is a severe condition of irregular and rapid heartbeat (arrhythmia) that increases the risk of a blood clot in the heart, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. As abnormal electrical impulses occur, the heart's top chambers (atria) fibrillates, hence being unsynchronized with the heart's lower chambers (ventricles).

Instead of both the heart chambers working together simultaneously to keep the blood flowing, the atria produces fast and chaotic rhythms, making it difficult to move the blood to the ventricles. Anyone with heart diseases like congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, or a history of a heart attack is at risk of atrial fibrillation.

What causes Atrial Fibrillation?

During atrial fibrillation, your heart rate may rise 100 to 175 beats per minute instead of the regular 60 to 100 beats per minute. The rapid and irregular heart rhythm has no singular cause. It is associated with the following condition:

  • Heart attack

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart valve problems

  • Heart failure

  • After a heart surgery

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Congenital heart disease

  • Lung disease

  • Sleep apnea

  • Viral infection

Apart from the causes associated with atrial fibrillation, some risk factors that have to be kept in check are:

  • Family history

  • Age

  • Heart diseases and birth defects

  • High alcohol consumption

  • Smoking

  • Excessive use of caffeine and certain drugs

  • Chronic conditions like diabetes or kidney disease

  • Obesity

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation can be occasional or persistent. The symptoms may go away, or you may not notice them, but if you do, call 911 immediately. Some of the common symptoms of atrial fibrillation you may feel are:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Chest discomfort or pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sweating

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation

Many are unaware that they have atrial fibrillation and are detected when physicians listen to the heart during a physical exam. There are different tests done to see the heart's electrical activity, be it occasional or persistent. They include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

  • Echocardiogram

  • Blood tests

  • Holter monitor

  • Event monitor

  • Chest X-ray

Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

Based on the severity of the symptoms and the patient's condition, the physician will recommend the best type of treatment. It can be lifestyle changes, medications, therapy, or surgery. Treating atrial fibrillation aims to reset the heart rhythm, control the heart rate, prevent blood clots, and reduce the risk of a stroke.

Some of the suggested lifestyle changes include:

  • Quit smoking

  • Keep a healthy diet

  • Limit alcohol intake

  • Control blood sugar level

  • Treat sleep apnea

Medications like beta-blockers, anti-arrhythmic drugs, blood thinners, and heart rate control drugs will benefit the treatment. Electrical cardioversion, drug cardioversion, pulmonary vein ablation are other methods used to treat atrial fibrillation.

If the atrial fibrillation is persistent after the above treatments or a blood clot in the left atrium, the patient may require surgical treatments. Some of the procedures include:

  • Maze procedure

  • Mini maze

  • Atrioventricular (AV) node ablation

  • Install pacemaker

Other Conditions We Treat

High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition where blood pressure is higher than average. When your arteries are narrower...[ ]

Heart Attack

Heart Attack

Heart attack is known to be fatal and requires immediate medical attention. It occurs when blood flow to the heart gets blocked for various...[ ]

Chest Pain

Chest Pain

Chest pain may appear problematic and as a prominent symptom of a heart attack. This is not always true, as chest pain...[ ]


Click here to book an appointment with us