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NIH - What Is Atrial Fibrillation? ďAtrial fibrillation (A-tre-al fi-bri-LA-shun), or AF, is the most common arrhythmia (ah-RITH-me-ah). An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. A disorder in the heartís electrical system causes AF and other types of arrhythmia. AF occurs when rapid, disorganized electrical signals in the heartís two upper chambers, called the atria (AY-tree-uh), cause them to contract very fast and irregularly (this is called fibrillation). As a result, blood pools in the atria and isnít pumped completely into the heartís two lower chambers, called the ventricles (VEN-trih-kuls). When this happens, the heartís upper and lower chambers donít work together as they should. Often, people who have AF may not even feel symptoms. However, even when not noticed, AF can lead to an increased risk of stroke. In many patients, particularly when the rhythm is extremely rapid, AF can cause chest pain, heart attack, or heart failure. AF may occur rarely or every now and then, or it may become a persistent or permanent heart rhythm lasting for years. ď
NIH - Medical Enyclopedia: Atrial fibrillation/flutter "Atrial fibrillation/flutter is a heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). It usually involves a rapid heart rate, in which the upper heart chambers (atria) are stimulated to contract in a very disorganized and abnormal manner."
NHS Ė Atrial Fibrillation ďBecause of the way the heart is beating in atrial fibrillation, the blood in the atria (upper chambers of the heart) does not flow in a normal manner and is very turbulent. This can result in blood clots forming. These clots may then be swept into the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart) and pumped into the lungs or into the general circulation. Clots in the general circulation can block arteries in the brain, causing a stroke. The risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation is about double that in the general population. The overall incidence of stroke in these people is 5 % per year. This risk is increased with age, high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and a history of embolism (blood clots).ĒHighlighted Articles
Focus On Atrial Fibrillation Recognizes Growing Importance Of Common Arrhythmia (2008) "Atrial fibrillation occurs when the upper chambers of the heart--the atria--quiver in an uncoordinated way rather than contracting with a steady tempo. Not only can this result in a rapid, irregular heart beat, but blood can pool in the atria and form clots that travel to the brain, causing a stroke. Some 3 percent to 4 percent of people over age 60 have atrial fibrillation, a risk that climbs to more than 5 percent after age 70."
Atrial fibrillation. (Mt Sinai J Med. 2006) "Diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, valvular disease, and myocardial infarction are all risk factors in the development of atrial fibrillation. And the diagnosis confers a five-fold increase in the incidence of stroke."
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