Atrial fibrillation : Causes - Symptoms- Diagnosis -Treatment

 What is Atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is an abnormal and frequently very fast heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that could cause blood clots inside the heart. A-fib will increase the hazard of stroke, heart failure and different heart-associated complications.

During atrial traumatic inflammation, the heart's top chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of sync with the lower chambers (the ventricles) of the coronary heart. For many humans, A-fib may additionally haven't any symptoms. However, A-fib can also cause a fast, pounding heartbeat (palpitations), shortness of breath or weak point.

Episodes of atrial fibrillation can also come and cross, or they'll be chronic. Although A-fib itself generally isn't existence-threatening, it is a critical clinical circumstance that requires proper treatment to save you stroke.

Treatment for atrial traumatic inflammation can also consist of medicinal drugs, remedy to reset the heart rhythm and catheter methods to dam defective coronary heart indicators.

A man or woman with atrial traumatic inflammation may also have an associated coronary heart rhythm problem referred to as atrial flutter. Although atrial flutter is an exclusive arrhythmia, the remedy is quite just like atrial fibrillation.

Medical terms

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common and potentially serious heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia) characterized by irregular and often rapid heartbeats. In a normal, healthy heart, the electrical signals that regulate heartbeat originate in the sinoatrial (SA) node, which acts as the heart's natural pacemaker. These signals travel through the atria (the heart's upper chambers) and then through the atrioventricular (AV) node to the ventricles (the heart's lower chambers), causing the heart to beat in a coordinated and rhythmic manner.

In atrial fibrillation, the electrical signals in the atria become disorganized and chaotic, causing the atria to quiver or fibrillate rather than contracting effectively. This irregular and rapid electrical activity can result in the following characteristics of AFib:

  • Irregular Heartbeat: The heartbeats are irregular, with no discernible pattern. This irregularity can lead to palpitations or a fluttering sensation in the chest.

  • Rapid Heart Rate: The heart rate in AFib is often faster than normal, and it can vary from person to person. It may exceed 100 beats per minute (bpm) or even go much higher.

  • Decreased Cardiac Output: AFib can reduce the heart's efficiency in pumping blood, which can result in decreased blood flow to the rest of the body.

Atrial fibrillation can have various causes and risk factors, including age, high blood pressure, heart disease, excessive alcohol consumption, and other medical conditions. It can lead to serious complications, such as blood clots forming in the atria, which can travel to other parts of the body and cause strokes or other blockages.

Treatment for atrial fibrillation aims to restore a normal heart rhythm, control the heart rate, and reduce the risk of complications. Treatment options may include medications, cardioversion (shock therapy to restore normal rhythm), catheter ablation, or surgical procedures. The choice of treatment depends on the individual's specific circumstances and the underlying causes of AFib.

It's important for individuals with atrial fibrillation to work closely with healthcare providers to manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications. Regular monitoring, lifestyle modifications, and medication management are common components of AFib management plans.

Disease Definition Question and Answer American Hospitals Alternative Medicine

Types Heart arrhythmia

In fashion, heart arrhythmias are grouped by way of the speed of the heart charge. For instance:

  • Tachycardia is a quick coronary heart. The resting heart charge is extra than 100 beats a minute.

  • Bradycardia is a gradual heartbeat. The resting heart fee is much less than 60 beats a minute.

Types of tachycardias encompass:

Symptoms Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of irregular heartbeat that often leads to shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, and poor exercise tolerance. AF is the most common type of arrhythmia, with an estimated 2.7 million American adults diagnosed with the condition. It is estimated that approximately 6 million people have undiagnosed AF due to the lack of symptoms or the difficulty in accurately detecting a medical diagnosis. AF is most commonly caused by underlying heart conditions such as coronary artery disease or high blood pressure, and can be worsened by smoking, alcohol use, and stress.

Some humans with atrial fibrillation (A-fib) do not note any signs and symptoms. Those who do have atrial fibrillation signs and symptoms can also have symptoms and signs and symptoms which include:


  • Sensations of a fast, fluttering or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)

  • Chest pain

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Lightheadedness

  • Reduced ability to exercise

  • Shortness of breath

  • Weakness

Atrial traumatic inflammation can be:

  • Occasional (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation). Afib signs come and cross, normally lasting for a couple of minutes to hours. Sometimes signs and symptoms occur for so long as every week and episodes can show up repeatedly. Symptoms may go away on their own. Some human beings with occasional Afib need treatment.

  • Persistent. With this sort of atrial fibrillation, the heart rhythm would not pass lower back to normal on its own. If someone has Afib signs, cardioversion or remedy with medications may be used to repair and hold an everyday coronary heart rhythm.

  • Long-standing persistent. This kind of atrial fibrillation is continuous and lasts longer than one year.

  • Permanent. In this form of atrial traumatic inflammation, the irregular heart rhythm can't be restored. Medications are hard to manage the coronary heart charge and to save you blood clots.

When to see a doctor

If you have got any symptoms or signs and symptoms of atrial traumatic inflammation, make an appointment together with your health practitioner.

If you've got chest pain, seek instantaneous clinical assist. Chest ache could imply that you're having a heart attack.

  • Bright red blood in your vomit, stool, or urine.

  • Severe pain in your head or abdomen.

  • Drastic vision changes.

  • Difficulty moving your legs or arms.

  • Memory loss.

Causes Atrial fibrillation

To apprehend the reasons for Afib, it could be beneficial to recognize how the coronary heart typically beats.

The standard heart has 4 chambers — two upper chambers (atria) and  lower chambers (ventricles). Within the upper right chamber of the coronary heart (right atrium) is a group of cells known as the sinus node. The sinus node is the heart's natural pacemaker. It produces the signal that begins every heartbeat.

In a everyday heart rhythm:

  • The sign travels from the sinus node via the 2 top heart chambers (atria).

  • The signal passes through a pathway among the higher and decreasing chambers known as the atrioventricular (AV) node.

  • The motion of the signal reasons your heart to squeeze (settlement), sending blood on your heart and body.

In atrial traumatic inflammation, the indicators within the upper chambers of the heart are chaotic. As a result, the upper chambers shake (quiver). The AV node is then bombarded with signals trying to get through to the lower coronary heart chambers (ventricles). This causes a quick and irregular coronary heart rhythm.

The heart fee in atrial traumatic inflammation may range from 100 to a hundred seventy five beats a minute. The regular range for a heart rate is 60 to one hundred beats a minute.

Causes of atrial traumatic inflammation

Problems with the coronary heart's shape are the maximum common reason for atrial traumatic inflammation. Possible causes of atrial traumatic inflammation consist of:

  • Coronary artery sickness

  • Heart attack

  • Heart disorder which you're born with (congenital coronary heart defect)

  • Heart valve issues

  • High blood strain

  • Lung illnesses

  • Physical stress because of surgical operation, pneumonia or different illnesses

  • Previous heart surgical operation

  • Problem with the heart's natural pacemaker (unwell sinus syndrome)

  • Sleep apnea

  • Thyroid sickness which includes an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and different metabolic imbalances

  • Use of stimulants, inclusive of positive medicinal drugs, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol

  • Viral infections

  • Some humans who've atrial traumatic inflammation haven't any regarded heart issues or heart damage.

Risk factors Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, that increases a person’s risk for stroke, heart failure, and other cardiac-related health issues. It is important for individuals to understand their risk factors for atrial fibrillation and how to prevent or manage it. Risk factors for atrial fibrillation include age (over 65), high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, coronary artery disease, and family history. Additionally, some lifestyle choices may increase a person’s risk of developing atrial fibrillation such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and being overweight.

Atrial fibrillation is a type of abnormal heart rhythm, which carries with it a range of health risks. The most common risk associated with atrial fibrillation is stroke, but other potential consequences include heart failure, blood clots, and an increased risk of cardiac death. To reduce the risks associated with atrial fibrillation, individuals should maintain good heart health habits and take prescribed medication as prescribed. Regular exercise, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and managing stress can all have a positive impact on heart health.

Things that could boom the risk of atrial traumatic inflammation (A-fib) include:


  • Age. The older someone is, the greater the risk of developing atrial traumatic inflammation.

  • Heart ailment. Anyone with coronary heart disease — inclusive of heart valve issues, congenital coronary heart ailment, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, or a history of coronary heart attack or coronary heart surgical operation — has an elevated threat of atrial fibrillation.

  • High blood strain. Having high blood pressure, specifically if it is not well controlled with way of life modifications or medications, can increase the hazard of atrial traumatic inflammation.

  • Thyroid disorder. In a few humans, thyroid troubles may also trigger coronary heart rhythm issues (arrhythmias), such as atrial fibrillation.

  • Other chronic health conditions. People with positive persistent conditions consisting of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic kidney ailment, lung ailment or sleep apnea have an accelerated risk of atrial traumatic inflammation.

  • Drinking alcohol. For a few human beings, ingesting alcohol can cause an episode of atrial fibrillation. Binge ingesting in addition will increase the hazard.

  • Obesity. People who have weight problems are at higher chance of growing atrial fibrillation.

  • Family records. An accelerated chance of atrial fibrillation occurs in some households.

Complications Atrial fibrillation

Blood clots are a dangerous hardship of atrial traumatic inflammation which could lead to stroke.


In atrial traumatic inflammation, the chaotic heart rhythm can motivate blood to collect within the coronary heart's higher chambers (atria) and shape clots. If a blood clot within the left higher chamber (left atrium) breaks free from the coronary heart place, it could journey to the mind and cause a stroke.


The threat of stroke from atrial traumatic inflammation increases as you get older. Other health situations also may also increase your chance of a stroke due to Afib, which include:

  • High blood stress

  • Diabetes

  • Heart failure

  • Some valvular coronary heart sickness

Blood thinners are normally prescribed to save you blood clots and strokes in humans with atrial fibrillation.

Prevention Atrial fibrillation

Healthy way of life choices can reduce the danger of coronary heart ailment and can prevent atrial traumatic inflammation. Here are some primary heart-wholesome hints:

  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Get ordinary exercising and hold a healthy weight
  • Don't smoke
  • Avoid or restrict alcohol and caffeine
  • Manage strain, as extreme pressure and anger can reason coronary heart rhythm issues

Diagnosis Atrial fibrillation

Some people are unaware that they have got atrial traumatic inflammation (A-fib). A-fib can be detected while a medical doctor is paying attention to the coronary heart with a stethoscope at some point of a physical examination for different motives.

A health practitioner can also order several exams to diagnose A-fib or exclude other situations that can cause similar symptoms. Tests can also include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This quick and painless take a look at measures the electric pastime of the coronary heart. Sticky patches (electrodes) are placed on the chest and every so often the arms and legs. Wires join the electrodes to a computer, which shows the take a look at effects. An ECG can show if the heart is thrashing too speedy, too gradual or under no circumstances. An ECG is the primary test for diagnosing atrial traumatic inflammation.

  • Blood tests. These assist a medical doctor rule out thyroid problems or locate different substances in the blood which can cause A-fib.

  • Blood count
  • Blood typing

  • Holter display. This small, portable ECG device is carried in a pocket or worn on a belt or shoulder strap throughout normal daily activities. It shows the coronary heart's interest continuously for 24 hours or longer.

  • Event recorder. This device is just like a Holter reveal, but it information best at sure instances for a couple of minutes at a time. It's worn longer than a Holter reveal, usually 30 days. You usually push a button whilst you experience symptoms. Some devices automatically report while an abnormal heart rhythm is detected.

  • Echocardiogram. This noninvasive test makes use of sound waves to create photographs of the coronary heart's size, shape and movement.

  • Stress test. Also referred to as workout trying out, strain testing involves jogging assessments at the coronary heart even as exercising on a treadmill or desk bound bike.

  • Chest X-ray. X-ray photographs assist a health practitioner see the situation of the lungs and heart.

  • Phonocardiography
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging

Treatment Atrial fibrillation

Treatment for atrial fibrillation relies upon how lengthy you've had A-fib, your signs and the underlying reason of the heartbeat trouble. The dreams of treatment are to:

  • Reset the heart rhythm

  • Control the coronary heart price

  • Prevent blood clots that may lead to stroke

Atrial traumatic inflammation treatment can also contain:

  • Medications

  • Therapy to reset the heart rhythm (cardioversion)

  • Surgery or catheter techniques

Together, you and your doctors will speak about the great treatment alternative for you. It's critical to observe your atrial fibrillation remedy plan. If A-fib isn't always nicely controlled, it is able to lead to different headaches, which includes strokes and heart failure.


You can be prescribed medications to control how fast your heart beats and repair it to a normal price. Medications also are prescribed to prevent blood clots, a dangerous hardship of A-fib.

Medications used to deal with atrial traumatic inflammation include:

  • Beta blockers. These medicines can help slow the coronary heart fee at relaxation and at some point of activity.

  • Calcium channel blockers. These medicines manipulate the coronary heart fee however can also need to be avoided through the ones who've heart failure or low blood pressure.

  • Digoxin. This medication may also control the heart fee at rest, but not as nicely all through activity. Most human beings need additional or alternative medicinal drugs, including calcium channel blockers or beta blockers.

  • Antiarrhythmic medications. These capsules are used to preserve an ordinary coronary heart rhythm, no longer simply to manipulate the heart charge. Because they tend to have more facet outcomes than pills that control the heart price, antiarrhythmics have a tendency to be used extra sparingly.

  • Blood thinners. To lessen the chance of stroke or damage to other organs because of blood clots, a doctor may also prescribe a blood-thinning medicinal drug (anticoagulant). Blood thinners consist of warfarin (Jantoven), apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa), edoxaban (Savaysa) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto). If you take warfarin, you may want to have regular blood exams to display the drug's results.

Cardioversion remedy

If A-fib signs and symptoms are bothersome or if that is the first episode of atrial traumatic inflammation, a health practitioner may attempt to reset the heart rhythm (sinus rhythm) using a manner referred to as cardioversion.

Cardioversion can be carried out in two approaches:

  • Electrical cardioversion. This technique to reset the heart rhythm is completed through sending electric powered shocks to the heart via paddles or patches (electrodes) located on the chest.

  • Drug cardioversion. Medications given thru an IV or via mouth are used to reset the heart rhythm.

Cardioversion is typically achieved in a hospital as a scheduled manner, however it could be finished in emergency conditions. If it's scheduled, warfarin (Jantoven) or every other blood thinner may be given a few weeks before it is accomplished to reduce the chance of blood clots and strokes.

After electric cardioversion, antiarrhythmic medications can be prescribed indefinitely to assist save you destiny episodes of atrial fibrillation. Even with medicinal drugs, there may be a risk of some other episode of atrial traumatic inflammation.

Surgery or catheter procedures

If A-fib would not get better with medications or different therapies, a health practitioner would possibly endorse a process referred to as cardiac ablation. Sometimes ablation is the first treatment for certain sufferers.


Cardiac ablation uses warmness (radiofrequency energy) or extreme cold (cryoablation) to create scars for your heart to dam bizarre electric indicators and restore an ordinary heartbeat. A doctor inserts a flexible tube (catheter) via a blood vessel, normally in your groin, and into your coronary heart. More than one catheter may be used. Sensors at the tip of the catheter observe the cold or warm energy.


Less typically, ablation is finished by the usage of a scalpel throughout open-heart surgical procedure.


There is one kind of cardiac ablation. The kind used to treat atrial fibrillation relies upon your specific signs and symptoms, usual health and whether or not you're having some other coronary heart surgery.


For instance, some of the forms of cardiac ablation that can be used to deal with atrial fibrillation are:

  • Atrioventricular (AV) node ablation. Heat or bloodless energy is implemented to the heart tissue at the AV node to break the electric signaling connection. After AV node ablation, a pacemaker is wanted for life.

  • Maze system. A doctor uses warmth or cold power or a scalpel to create a sample of scar tissue (the maze) within the upper chambers of the heart. Because scar tissue doesn't send electrical indicators, the maze interferes with the stray heart indicators that cause atrial traumatic inflammation.

  • If a scalpel is used to create the maze pattern, open-heart surgical procedure is important. This is referred to as the surgical maze system. It's the desired method of atrial fibrillation treatment in individuals who want every other coronary heart surgery, which includes coronary artery bypass surgical treatment or coronary heart valve repair.

Atrial traumatic inflammation may additionally go back after cardiac ablation. If this takes place, every other cardiac ablation or different heart remedy may be advocated. After cardiac ablation, lifelong blood thinners can be needed to prevent strokes.


If someone with Afib cannot take blood-thinning medicinal drugs, a medical doctor may additionally propose a catheter technique to seal a small sac (appendage) in the left top heart chamber, where most Afib related clots shape. This process is called left atrial appendage closure. A closure device is gently guided via a catheter to the sac. Once the tool is in the area, the catheter is removed. The device is left completely in place. Surgery to close the left atrial appendage is a choice for a few humans already having heart surgery.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Following a heart-healthy way of life can assist, prevent or deal with conditions including excessive blood strain and coronary heart disorder. Lifestyle adjustments regularly include:

  • Eating heart-wholesome meals. Eat a healthy food regimen. It truly is low in salt and strong fats and wealthy in culmination, greens and whole grains.

  • Exercising regularly. Exercise every day and grow a bodily hobby.

  • Quitting smoking. If you smoke and can't cease on your personal, speak to your physician about strategies or programs that will help you destroy a smoking dependence.

  • Maintaining a healthful weight. Being obese increases your hazard of developing coronary heart ailment. Healthy weight loss can help to control symptoms of atrial traumatic inflammation and might enhance the results of catheter ablation.

  • Keeping blood strain and cholesterol levels beneath manage. Make lifestyle modifications and take medications as prescribed to correct high blood pressure (hypertension) or high ldl cholesterol.

  • Limiting alcohol. Binge consuming (having 5 beverages in  hours for men or four liquids for women) can increase the chances of atrial traumatic inflammation. In a few people, even modest quantities of alcohol can cause atrial traumatic inflammation.

  • Getting follow-up care. Take your medicines as prescribed and feature everyday follow-up appointments together with your physician. Tell your physician in case your symptoms worsen.

Preparing for your appointment

If you have an irregular or pounding heartbeat, make an appointment together with your circle of relatives. If atrial traumatic inflammation is determined early, remedy can be less difficult and extra powerful. You can be referred to a health practitioner trained in coronary heart conditions (cardiologist).


Because appointments may be brief, and because there's often plenty to talk about, it's an excellent idea to be prepared for your appointment. Here's a few records that will help you get equipped on your appointment, and what to anticipate out of your physician.

What you can do

  • Be privy to any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you're making the appointment, make certain to invite if there may be anything you need to do earlier, along with limiting your nutritional intake. You may additionally need to try this if your physician orders blood assessments.

  • Write down any signs you are experiencing, together with any which can seem unrelated to atrial traumatic inflammation.

  • Write down key private statistics, including any circle of relatives records of coronary heart disease, stroke, excessive blood strain or diabetes, and any predominant stresses or recent life modifications.

  • Make a listing of all medicines, nutrients or supplements that you're taking.

  • Take a member of the family or buddy along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand and do not forget all of the facts furnished to you for the duration of an appointment. Someone who accompanies you can bear in mind some thing which you overlooked or forgot.

  • Write down questions to ask your physician.

Your time with your physician is confined, so getting a listing of questions will assist you're making the maximum amount of time collectively. List your questions from most important to least important, in case time runs out. For atrial traumatic inflammation, some primary inquiries to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely to inflict my signs and symptoms or condition?

  • What are other viable reasons for my symptoms or condition?

  • What forms of tests will I need?

  • What's the maximum appropriate remedy?

  • What ingredients should I consume or avoid?

  • What's the suitable stage of a bodily hobby?

  • How frequently do I need to be screened for coronary heart disease or different complications of atrial fibrillation?

  • What are the options to the number one technique that you're suggesting?

  • I produce other health conditions. How can I exceptionally manage them collectively?

  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?

  • Should I see a specialist? What will that value, and will my coverage cover seeing a specialist? (You may need to invite your insurance company without delay for records about coverage.)

  • Is there a prevalent alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?

  • Are there any brochures or other revealed clothes that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions which you've prepared to ask your health practitioner, don't hesitate to invite questions in the course of your appointment.

What to anticipate out of your doctor

Your medical doctor is probably to ask you some questions. Being prepared to answer them may also save time to head over any points you want to spend extra time on. Your medical doctor may additionally ask:

  • When did you first start experiencing symptoms?

  • Have your signs been non-stop or occasional?

  • How extreme are your symptoms?

  • What, if whatever, seems to enhance your symptoms?

  • What, if something, appears to worsen your signs?

General summary

Atrial fibrillation is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management and monitoring by healthcare professionals. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial to reducing the risk of complications and improving the quality of life for individuals with AF. Patients with AF should work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan based on their specific needs and medical history.

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