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Atrial Fibrillation

 

Atrial fibrillation is a disorder of the upper two chambers of the heart causing irregular heart rhythm.

Causes

  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Hyperthyroid
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart defects
  • Certain lung diseases
  • Severe stress
  • Severe infection
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Excessive caffeine use
  • Heart surgery
  • Sleep apnea

Symptoms
Atrial fibrillation is mostly asymptomatic but sometimes it can have the following symptoms:

  • Palpitation
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Treatment

  • Medications are used to slow down rapid heart rate associated with AF.
  • Electrical cardioversion may be used to restore normal heart rhythm with an electric shock, when medication doesn't improve symptoms.
  • Radiofrequency ablation may be effective in some patients when medications don't work.
  •  Surgery can be used to disrupt electrical pathways that generate AF.
  • Atrial pacemakers can be implanted under the skin to regulate the heart rhythm.