FAQ - atrial fibrillation
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Atrial Fibrillation?

A friend of mine recently became very sick, and was told she had Atrial Fibrillation, she is only 30 years old. She went through a stress test and an echo and now has to wear a heart monitor for 30 days. What can the Atrial Fibrillation be caused from and do patients with Atrial Fibrillation usually have it for the rest of their lives?

Almost always, once afib, then always prone to afib and it may be a chronic on-going condition. The good news is that most people with afib do fine regardless. They may never be participating in Iron Man competitions, but are fine for day-to-day needs.

The difficulty in converting atrial fibrillation back to sinus rhythm is not dependent on age, rather is dependent on the source of the afib. If the left atria is dilated and large, it predictably will not go back to NSR and stay there very easily. Mentioning specific medications is not too useful here (there are at least four separate classes and a number of choices among them) because each patient is individual and often requires a unique treatment - and there are new agents being introduced.

Most recently, conventional wisdom has been to convert to NSR (normal sinus rhythm) if there is a reasonable chance of conversion and staying in NSR. If NSR was unlikely, then rate control (and chronic anticoagulation with Coumadin depending on patient age) has a the same likelihood of death as NSR and that then becomes the goal. In other words, a controlled rate is almost as good.

A recently published article showed however that QUALITY of life is significantly reduced if a patient remains in afib. Its early but this may mean there is more effort to convert to NSR in the future, possibly with more use of surgical intervention/pacemakers...time will tell.

The fact that your friend has a 30 day monitor means to me that the doctors are evaluating her current treatment to see if it is effective in keeping the heart rate either regular or at a regulated rate.

One common source of afib in young people is sleep apnea. If there is ANY possibility that sleep apnea may be at play(people who are overweight for instance) in this case, then your friend should go for a sleep study to have it evaluated. Its entirely treatable and can make a big difference in her long term cardiovascular, lung function, and day-to-day well being.

I hope this helps. Good luck.  (+ info)

Atrial fibrillation?

If you have a blood pressure of 120/ 80 can you be suffering from atrial fibrillation?
The would a long P-Wave indicate A-Fib?
Redrosef what do you base your statement on

absolutely. A-fib is when the top two chambers of the heart beat (or quiver) very weakly, irregullarly, and ineffeciently. blood pressure can be high, low, or normal. one of the big dangers of a-fib is rapid ventricular response (a-fib with rvr), or when the heart rate is greater than 100 beats per minute. high pulse rate puts "a-fibbers" at a high risk of developing a bllod clot in the heart. treatment for a-fib with rvr is usually iv heparin and coumadin to thin the blood, with iv cardizem to control heart rate. after heart rate is controlled, anti arrythmics (such as amiodorone) may help convert the heart to its normal rythym. electocardioversion is also sometimes used (on a conciously sedated patient) to shock the heart back into rythym (CLEAR). there is also a procedure known as atrial ablation where parts of the hearts electrical system are "burned out" to help prevent future episodes. However many people are "chronic a-fibbers" and manage fairly well even though there heart stays in this rythym. while blood pressure should be monitored, the real danger is in a high (100+)heart rate.  (+ info)

atrial fibrillation?

Thanks for the helpful answers received at my earlier posting. I am sorry to go on about my atrial fibrillation but I am very confused. I went into hospital at 11pm with my usual atrial fib and tightness of neck & jaw, heart beat 129pm. Five hours earlier I had taken 5mg beta blocker, 100mg flecainide and warfarin. In hospital they gave me oxygen and digoxin. My monitor through the night showed me to be in sinus rhythm at 119 bpm (my normal being 50bpm). My GP says I can’t have been in Afib with sinus rhythm. Everything felt the same as Afib. Could the extra medication have reverted my heart into sinus rhythm but not have affected the rapid heart beat which slowed gradually during the night. It usually stops suddenly. If not Afib then what did I have? Beta blocker now increased and statin also, so sounds like A fib to me. I do like to know what is going on and worry if I don’t know.
Thanks Gary V. My betablocker is bisoprolol and I take 5mg in the morning and 5mg in the evening. I was told that I am already on the high end of medication. Flecainide is 100mg am and 100mg evening.
The cardiologist in hospital said that I also have angina. Another doctor talked about AFib as if I had it at the time and said they were now coming in clusters ( 3 times in the past 5 weeks after a gap of 6 months) and would now get more frequent and may become permanent.
Perhaps I am not explaining myself well. Usually Afib comes on suddenly, very strong, very fast, very irregular and I can feel the beats everywhere. This time only sign was tight neck/jaw. Felt pulse, put on bp monitor - 129 bpm. I didn’t catch on that the beats were regular this time, (although looking back I think they may have been regular 2 weeks earlier when the same thing happened and I couldn,t feel them in the usual way. I had to stay in hospital that time, too). This time after an ECG I was given oxygen through the nose and put on a potassium drip, also unusual for me, so I guess things were different from usual when I just have ECG’s every hour until I go back to normal rhythm. Confused? So am I.

It's really scary, isn't it.
Your heart goes into an abnormal rhythm called an atrial fib. Then after O2 and time it "converts" to a normal sinus rythym. The treatment of choice to prevent this is Digoxin and Beta blockers. You are very blessed that you convert back into a sinus rhythm. Some people have to be shocked or defibrulated which really hurts. Some people will convert on meds which is what you are seeming to do.
Potassium will help with arrhythmias if they are caused by low Potassium.
As horrible as this feels and as hard as you heart pumps when it is in a fib, it is less dangerous than some other irregular heart rhythms. If you do have a diagnosis of A-fib from a doctor who has seen you in this irregular rhythm, then ask him why he hasn't put you on Digoxin (lanoxin). That is the treatment of choice for this problem and it will prevent it in most cases.  (+ info)

Atrial Fibrillation: what type of pain occurs before and during heart attack or stroke?

I am asking opinions from patients of Atrial Fibrillation what type of pain they experienced prior to and during a heart attack or stroke due to AF. If you have COPD and/or overweight, please relate to both if they created more problems.

http://www.a-fib.com/PersonalExperiences.htm  (+ info)

What is the best reference source to know more about ablation of atrial fibrillation?

I am a PhD student working on ablation of atrial fibrillation. I would be grateful if you could provide me with a reference source to get information about the details of ablation of atrial fibrillation.
***Please answer this if you are a medical professional or in a relevant field.

If you listen to azize man (N) suggestion you will know it
;)  (+ info)

what is the best treatment for atrial fibrillation?

hi i am a student of pharmacy, does anyome know which drugs are mostly recomended to start therapy for patients with atrial fibrillation

example is Quinidine a good chioce? what doeses are usually used of class 1c, class 3 anti arrhythmics?

should there be a follow up?

Atrial fibrillation treatment goals include restoring the heart to normal rhythm, slowing the heart rate and preventing blood clots. Treatment options for atrial fibrillation include nonsurgical procedures, surgical procedures and medications.

Nonsurgical Procedures
To correct atrial fibrillation — reset the heart to its regular rhythm (sinus rhythm) — the physician will often perform cardioversion. This can be done with drugs or electrically.

Cardioversion with drugs
Medications (anti-arrhythmics) are used to stop the atria's quivering and restore normal (sinus) rhythm. The medications effectively maintain sinus rhythm for at least one year in 50 percent to 65 percent of people. However, they can cause side effects such as nausea and fatigue, as well as some long-term risks. In rare cases, the medications may actually increase the heart rate.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/atrial-fibrillation/treatment.html  (+ info)

is there a link between flying and atrial fibrillation?

I suffer from paroxsymal atrial fibrillation. I haven't flown since I have been diagnosed but now I am worried about it. I do not like flying and when I get in the plane my heart beats very rapidly from fear. Could this trigger a fibrillation? If so I will have to go abroad via train or boat. Has anyone had a fibrillation whilst flying?

Atrial fibrillation is more on cardiac electrical impulses than atmospheric pressure-induced, so high altitudes do not have that high of a correlation with the said disease. This disease is also called cardiac DYSRHYTHMIA, and I call it as such instead of ARRHYTHMIA because "A-" means "none", and atrial fibrillation definitely has a cardiac rhythm but only abnormal.

If the nature of your cardiovascular disease is altitude induced, such as Bends, then flying might be a problem. The complication of your disease, however, is more related and more likely to be triggered by anxiety-filled situations, which, in your case as you said, is flying or any other situations or events that trigger an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks translate to high adrenaline production, sweating, and fast heartbeats as some of the symptoms. The increased heart rate could switch your cardiovascular physiology to the atrial fibrillation state, i.e. your abnormal cardiac rhythm--this is the exact nature of patients diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, with alternate switching between normal cardiac rhythm to an abnormal one.

If flying triggers an anxiety attack towards you, then there is a high chance that it would also trigger atrial fibrillation in your state. Remember that flying per se is not the problem but the event itself that give rise to a precursor of atrial fibrillation. If this is the case, you have some options to remedy this. I recommend you see a cardiologist and discuss your case and possible anxiolytic (meds directed toward anxiety attacks) medications, like Diazepam for example, that you can take if flying is absolutely necessary.

If I am not mistaken, AF is manageable is most cases. And since yours is paroxysmal in nature, there is something that can be done to manage it.

I hope this helps!  (+ info)

what is atrial fibrillation and is it serious?

I recently had an ecg done due to having chest pain and shortness of breath along with palpatations and the ecg showed atrial fibrillation. i have to go for further testing and my GP has put me on a daily dose of aspirin to prevent a stroke or heart attack. I also have dextrocardia. i am only 24 and i'm very worried about this. Can anyone help?

AF is a failure of the normal controlling node (SA node) located in the posterior wall of the right atrium. Atrial fibrillation is by far the most commonly occurring cardiac arrhythmia. The rate heart control by the node is lost and the rate can rise dramatically.

It is unfortunately not a benign condition however there are a number of ways of dealing with it. You may remember Tony Blair had surgical management while he was Prime minister. This consists of destroying the aberrant conduction pathway, allowing the SA to take over control once more.

Patients can also be cardioverted, given a DC shock just as in when a defibrillator is used following a cardiac arrest.

Digoxin was used for many many years to control Af it fell out of fashion, but is still used by many cardiologists.

Another approach is to again ignore the abnormal rhythm and just control the rate, this is done using beta blockers.

The rapid irregular rhythm allows some blood to stagnate,increasing clot risk and stroke, for this reason patients are given at least anti-platelet therapy and more recently anti-coagulated with warfarin.  (+ info)

Is lifting weights a high risk with atrial fibrillation?

I'm a 43 year-old male who enjoys and has for several years lifting weights as a hobby and looking good. Just recently i was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Do i have to stop lifting weights now that i'm being treated for this condition?

Talk to your cardiologist. I assume you are on digoxin? As long as you don't stress your heart too much it should stay in rhythm. But stress means different things to different hearts. I could lift weights without having a problem as long as my dig level is up. If it's down too low, I could go into AF just by bending over to pick something up. It just depends on what your heart can take and if you maintain a sinus rhythm on meds. Everyone is different and everyone's heart has a different stress point.  (+ info)

Why is that atrial fibrillation seems to like to run at around 150 beats per minute?

As title.

How about atrial flutter? what rate does atrial flutter usually run at?
What about when we just count the qrs's, they seem to spike at a rate of around 150 per minute. What's the reason for this rate of around 150? Often as soon as I say the rate is about 150, people say: ah, it could well be atrial fibrillation happening.

Atrial flutter isn't a beat or contraction. People confuse the ECG/EKG waveform with a mechanical contraction of the heart. It is just electrical activity that is erratic. The atria are not actually contracting; they are just quivering.

ETA: If you are just counting the QRS complexes, you could have a rate that high. AFib looks erratic. There is variation between the QRS complexes. You may be confusing the AFib for p waves. That could be what they are correcting you on.

When someone has AFib, they no longer have the sinus node as the band leader, dictating when the heart has an electrical impulse that results in a contraction. The AV node may pick up as the band leader. It isn't as fast as the SA node, so if you have a true heart rate of 150 beats per minute, you have a problem.

Are you in the medical field or a family member? Ask a tame cardiologist or a knowledgeable RN to explain what is going on. :)  (+ info)

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