Atrial Fibrillation

What is Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of heartbeat that is irregular or fast (rapid). If you have this condition, your heart keeps quivering in a weird (chaotic) way. This condition can make it so your heart cannot pump blood normally.

Having this condition gives a person more risk for stroke, heart failure, and other heart problems. There are different types of atrial fibrillation. Talk with your doctor to learn about the type that you have.

5 Interesting Facts of Atrial Fibrillation

  1. Common form of supraventricular tachyarrhythmia characterized by rapid and disorganized atrial activation resulting in ineffective atrial contraction
  2. Caused by multiple reentry circuits or wavelets of activation around the atrial myocardium; can be paroxysmal, persistent, or permanent
  3. Absence of distinct repeating P waves; P waves replaced by irregular F waves in the setting of irregular QRS complexes
  4. Irregular R-R intervals
  5. Differentiated from multifocal atrial tachycardia by ECG, which is important because treatment of atrial fibrillation differs from that of multifocal atrial tachycardia

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • If your doctor prescribed a blood-thinning medicine, take it exactly as told. Taking too much of it can cause bleeding. If you do not take enough of it, you will not have the protection that you need against stroke and other problems.
  • Do notuse any tobacco products. These include cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor.
  • If you have apnea (obstructive sleep apnea), manage it as told by your doctor.
  • Do notdrink alcohol.
  • Do notdrink beverages that have caffeine. These include coffee, soda, and tea.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Do notuse diet pills unless your doctor says they are safe for you. Diet pills may make heart problems worse.
  • Follow diet instructions as told by your doctor.
  • Exercise regularly as told by your doctor.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

Contact a doctor if:

  • You notice a change in the speed, rhythm, or strength of your heartbeat.
  • You are taking a blood-thinning medicine and you notice more bruising.
  • You get tired more easily when you move or exercise.

Get help right away if:

  • You have pain in your chest or your belly (abdomen).
  • You have sweating or weakness.
  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous).
  • You notice blood in your throw up (vomit), poop (stool), or pee (urine).
  • You are short of breath.
  • You suddenly have swollen feet and ankles.
  • You feel dizzy.
  • Your suddenly get weak or numb in your face, arms, or legs, especially if it happens on one side of your body.
  • You have trouble talking, trouble understanding, or both.
  • Your face or your eyelid droops on one side.
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