Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

15/12/2010 17:11

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common rhythm abnormality of the heart. Over the years, the incidence of atrial fibrillation is increased, in both the developed and developing world. If you have AF, electrical impulses do not arise normally in the SA node as described above. Instead, many impulses begin simultaneously and spread through the atria and compete for a chance to travel through the AV node. This results in a very rapid, disorganized and irregular heartbeat.

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causes of Atrial Fibrillation:

It has been estimated that atrial rhythm changes occurs in about 4% of the general adult population and affects approximately 2. 2 million people in the United States. About 160, 000 new cases of atrial fibrillation are diagnosed each year. Atrial fibrillation occurs about 1. 5 times more frequently in males than in females. It is estimated that atrial fibrillation is responsible for over 60, 000 strokes each year in the United States.

When treating afib, the main objective is to prevent circulatory instability, thus helping promote proper oxygenation. Cardioversion is the most common initial treatment. It is the process of converting an abnormally fast or irregular hearth rhythm to normal sinus rhythm. Cardioversion can either by synchronized or chemical. The former makes use of a therapeutic dose of electrical shock to the heart while the latter makes use of a pharmacologic regimen.

One danger of fibrillation is an increased risk of embolism. If a blood clot forms in either atrium, the clot may break into small pieces, which may travel through the circulatory system to a point where their size prevents them from going any further. This is called an embolism. It can block all flow of blood beyond that point. The damage caused by such an embolism depends on its size and location. An embolus that is got trapped in a brain artery will lead to stroke.


Treatments for atrial fibrillation in cats will all depend on the actual underlying heart condition. The major objectives of any type of treatment will be to do three things; control the congestive heart failure, control the heart rate, and to provide home therapy to slow the progression of the condition. In most all cases, you can never reverse or completely stop it, but you can certainly slow it down considerably. The initial treatment for your cat may require hospitalization that will involve both drugs and oxygen.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation usually include a fast heartbeat of 140 beats per minute. Aside from that there could also be other accompanying symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, palpitations, and breathlessness. Hypotension or low blood pressure can also happen.

t is necessary to keep the heart rate from racing as this can also cause lowered cardiac output due to less filling time for each stroke. This can be achieved by either pharmaceuticals or and ablation. An ablation will be completed by an electrophysiology cardiologist in a hospital cardiac catheterization Laboratory. During the procedure the cells or pathways causing the fast heart rate are identified and destroyed. Occasionally a pacemaker will now be necessary to keep the heart rate from going to slow.

The heart is composed of four chambers; as we have already said, the two larger chambers, known as atria, sit on top of two smaller chambers known as ventricles and each atrium is connected to the lower ventricle. The atrium's job is to take in blood after it has passed through the lungs and which is then rich in oxygen waiting to be delivered to the rest of the body.

These atria, which contain the heart's natural pacemaker, the SA node, are, the part of the heart involved in Atrial Fibrillation. The ventricles, the muscular part of the heart that actually pumps the blood are electrically isolated from the atria, and the only way the electrical signal can reach them is through the AV node.

While I had been told before that the Maze Procedure would probably cure my atrial fibrillation thus eliminating any need for heart medication or anticoagulants, I certainly would never have considered the drastic measure of open heart valve surgery to remedy my A-Fib until this unusual chain of events unfolded.

To review, Afib is characterized as an erratic discharge of rapid electrical impulses that spread across your heart's atria (i.e. the two upper chambers). Rather than contracting in sync with your heart's ventricles (i.e. the two lower chambers), the atria flutter - or fibrillate. In some cases, the disorder causes no noticeable symptoms. In other cases, the patient might be at risk of experiencing medical events that can be life-threatening.

Some Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation:



Shortness of breath.


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