What is it?

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is an irregular rapid heart beat. A- fib could lead to blood clots, and increase the risk for stroke and heart failure. During A-fib, the atria is electrically out of sync with the ventricles. Episodes of A-fib may either be occasional (paroxysmal) persistent (when the heart rhythm does not go back on its own) or permanent, when the irregular heart rhythm can’t be restored . An episode may cause no symptoms or it could also cause a fast heartbeat, palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. Risk factors may include older age, coronary artery disease, different heart conditions, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, alcohol misuse, obesity, certain drugs and supplements, anxiety, diabetes, and family history.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include fast heart beat, palpitations, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and sweating.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of atrial fibrillation is based upon medical history, physical examination, ECG, holter monitor, echocardiogram, stress test, chest X-ray and blood tests to rule out other conditions.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the duration of the symptoms and may involve medications such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, digoxin, anti- arrhythmic medications and blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke. Other treatments include cardioversion, which is a therapy used to reset the heart rhythm, by sending electric shock to the heart or by drugs and surgery or catheter procedure.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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