Description of Atrial fibrillation
a serious form of arrhythmia affecting the atria (upper chambers) of the heart.
Persons most commonly affected by Atrial fibrillation - adults of both sexes in middle and older age, usually with some form of heart disease or damage.
Organ or part of body involved in Atrial fibrillation - heart
Symptoms and indications of Atrial fibrillation
irregular, rapid heartbeat and pulse, which are felt as unpleasant palpitations and may cause chest pain, breathlessness, faintness and weakness. There may be symptoms of STROKE because of the formation of blood clots in the heart. In severe cases, this may lead to heart failure and death. Immediate medical help should be sought if a person has these symptoms.
Treatment of Atrial fibrillation
emergency medical treatment and intensive care in hospital will be required. This involves attempting to restore a normal heartbeat by means of electric shock and drug treatment.
The drugs that may be used include digoxin, beta-blocker and calcium antagonists. Surgery and the fitting of a pacemaker is sometimes (but rarely) required. Underlying heart disease, responsible for the atrial fibrillation, is also treated, although this is rarely sufficient to restore the normal heartbeat on its own. An exception is if the cause is HYPERTHYROIDISM. Later, the patient may be prescribed blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin.
Causes and risk factors of Atrial fibrillation
In atrial fibrillation, the output of the heart is maintained by the contraction of the ventricles (the lower, larger chambers) alone. It can arise spontaneously in persons with no apparent heart disease, but often an underlying disorder is present. These diseases include CORONARY ARTERYDISEASE, rheumatic heart disease, ATHEROSCLEROSIS, high blood pressure (HYPERTENSION) and overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). There is a risk of CORONARY THROMBOSIS because of the formation of blood clots in the heart.