Types of Atrial Fibrillation

When you receive your atrial fibrillation diagnosis, you may be told you have one of the following types described below. Although the pathology (characteristics) of the disease can be similar, the duration of time that the heart spends in fibrillation can vary greatly. Importantly, the longer the heart spends in atrial fibrillation, the greater the risk of stroke. That being said, even if you do not have ANY symptoms, all patients with any type of atrial fibrillation have a significantly greater risk for stroke and should continue the advice, medication regimen, and lifestyle changes recommended by their healthcare provider for stroke-reduction.

PAROXYSMAL FIBRILLATION Patients with paroxysmal fibrillation often have episodes, normally lasting less than 48 hours, after which time the heart returns to normal. This type of atrial fibrillation may progress into a more permanent type of atrial fibrillation. PERSISTENT FIBRILLATION Patients with persistent atrial fibrillation have continuous periods of fibrillation for longer than a week that must be stopped with medication or electrical cardioversion. LONG-STANDING FIBRILLATION Patients with long- standing, persisten atrial fibrillation have an irregular, erratic and often rapid hearteat that persists continuously for greater than one year. +1y PERMANENT FIBRILLATION After unsuccessful approaches have been undertaken to correct the arrhythmia, the patient and physician collectively decide not to pursue further rhythm- correcting options and the patient remains in fibrillation indefinitely.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

Normally, electrical signals from the heart’s natural pacemaker, the sinus node, control the contractions of cardiac muscle. These impulses are rhythmic, steady and controlled.

Atrial fibrillation is caused by disorganized and chaotic electrical signals from different parts of the atria, the upper chambers of the heart. This results in an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm since each part of the atria emits electrical activity independently and result in the ventricles being bombarded with electrical impulses.

These abnormal electrical impulses can be caused by damage to the heart, often from other types of cardiac diseases. Coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathy and hypertension can all increase your risk for atrial fibrillation. Other factors like diabetes, thyroid abnormalities, lung abnormalities or excessive alcohol intake, can also trigger atrial fibrillation.

Normal conduction Atrial fibrillation SA node SA node Normalelectricalsignals Disorganizedelectricalsignals Normal sinus rhythm Atrial fibrillation Heart Attack/ Coronary Artery Disease Causes of Atrial Fibrillation High Blood Pressure Congenital Heart Diseases Excessive Alcohol Intake Pulmonary Embolism Overactive Thyroid Pericarditis Pneumonia Rheumatic Heart Disease Cardio- myopathy /Heart Failure Anemia Diabetes Age SleepApnea Obesity

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Symptoms from atrial fibrillation can vary from person-to-person; no two people will have identical symptoms. Below is a list of some the most common symptoms for atrial fibrillation. Use this as a guide for symptoms, but also seek out professional help and assistance for any symptoms you may develop.

Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea), Coughing & Wheezing Sudden Weight Gain Abdominal Pain Chronic Lack of Energy & Fatigue Confusion, Dizziness& Lightheadedness Heart palpitationsand racing,chest pain
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