Atrial fibrillation Symptoms & Treatment



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia; it affects more than 1% of the population. When the heart is in atrial fibrillation , the electrical current in the heart’s two upper chambers (atria) is very fast (up to 400 pulses per minute) and irregular. In response, the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) will also contract irregularly between 80 and 180 times per minute. These irregular beats, especially if they are fast, can interfere with the work of the heart and make it more difficult for blood to be transported to other organs.. During atrial fibrillation , the atria no longer contract effectively; the blood therefore stays there longer and clots can form in the cavity. These clots can be dispersed in the circulation; if such a clot travels to an artery in the brain, a stroke can result.heart

Causes and/or risk factors

The most common causes of atrial fibrillation are :

  • high blood pressure
  • accelerated functioning of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • angina or heart attack
  • abnormalities of the heart muscle or heart valves
  • sleep apnea
  • recent heart surgery
  • a severe infection

In some cases, it is impossible to find a specific cause for the arrhythmia and we will then speak of isolated atrial fibrillation . Whatever the cause of atrial fibrillation , the risk of developing this type of arrhythmia increases with age.


Atrial fibrillation is experienced differently by each patient. Some people experience no symptoms and others experience symptoms very markedly from the start of the episodes. The most common symptom is the feeling of throbbing in the chest. Palpitations are felt as rapid and/or irregular heartbeats, quivering, or chest discomfort. During an episode of atrial fibrillation , one may also experience:

  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • fatigue or an inability to perform activities of daily living


In some cases, atrial fibrillation is discovered incidentally during a routine examination. When the palpitations are frequent, long lasting or when they are associated with other incapacitating symptoms, the doctor will prescribe tests that will allow him first to confirm the presence of atrial fibrillation and then to determine it. the cause.

  • electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • holter
  • cardio memo
  • echocardiogram
  • stress test

Afib Treatmentheartburn

The treatment of atrial fibrillation is divided into two parts: the treatment of the arrhythmia itself and a treatment aimed at preventing the formation of clots in the atria.

  1. Arrhythmia Treatment

There are two ways to deal with atrial fibrillation by medication.

  • rhythm control, which aims to restore and maintain the normal (sinus) rhythm of the heart

To restore sinus rhythm, one can either give drugs, usually intravenously, or do electrical cardioversion. In the latter case, after putting the patient to sleep with intravenous medication, the doctor administers an electric shock directly to the patient’s chest. Regardless of how sinus rhythm is restored, medications are usually prescribed chronically to reduce the risk of recurrence. atrial fibrillation .

  • rate control, which slows the heart rate to a normal rate

To control the rate, drugs are given chronically; this usually resolves the symptoms and allows the patient to resume normal activities. The choice of treatment (rhythm control vs. rate control) depends on several factors, including the age of the patient, the duration of atrial fibrillation and the number of episodes in the past, the cause of atrial fibrillation , the medications administered in the past and especially the symptoms associated with the arrhythmia . It is important to notify the attending physician if medication side effects occur or if symptoms persist. It may be necessary to try more than one drug before finding the best one for a particular case. In certain very precise situations, one proceeds to the ablation of the arrhythmia by eliminating the fabric responsible for atrial fibrillation in the ear cups. During this procedure, catheters are routed to the heart to locate diseased areas; these areas are then eliminated either by electrical energy or by application of intense cold.

  1. Prevention of clot formation

To determine if a blood-thinning drug is needed, what drug is appropriate, and for how long, the doctor will consider several things including the patient’s age and sex, the cause of atrial fibrillation , associated diseases (eg hypertension , diabetes ) as well as the risk of bleeding.

living with the disease

In a person with atrial fibrillation , certain habits of daily life can favor the appearance of new episodes of arrhythmia , such as the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Sufferers should also be careful when taking over-the-counter medications, as these may contain stimulants that promote atrial fibrillation or have an interaction with the drugs prescribed for its treatment. A consultation with the pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medication will help avoid this problem.

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