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Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Information

  • Atrial fibrillation (AF or afib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia) which involves the two small, upper heart chambers (the atria). Heart beats in a normal heart begin after electricity generated in the atria by the sinoatrial node spread through the heart and cause contraction of the heart muscle and pumping of blood. In AF, the regular electrical impulses of the sinoatrial node are replaced by disorganized, rapid electrical impulses which result in irregular heart beats...
  • Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. The risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age ? AF affects four percent of individuals in their 80s. An individual may spontaneously alternate between AF and a normal rhythm (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) or may continue with AF as the dominant cardiac rhythm without reversion to the normal rhythm (chronic atrial fibrillation). Atrial fibrillation is often asymptomatic, but may result in symptoms of palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or even heart failure. These symptoms are especially common when atrial fibrillation results in a heart rate which is either too fast or too slow. In addition, the erratic motion of the atria leads to blood stasis which predisposes to blood clots which may travel from the heart to the brain and other areas. Thus, AF is an important risk factor for stroke, the most feared complication of atrial fibrillation.

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