Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a cardiac dysrhythmia that usually occurs in heart disease or during drug therapy. Those affected suffer from palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. Atrial fibrillation can be cured in over 95 percent of cases
Atrial fibrillation: Description
Atrial fibrillation is a rhythm disorder that originates from the right atrium of the heart. In the atrium, the electrical signal from the sinus node “goes astray” and forms what is called circular excitations throughout the atrium. This stimulates the atria up to 300 times per minute. The electrical signals are also transmitted to the ventricles. However, in the conduction system of the heart the AV Node acts as a block against too fast excitations. Only every second, third or fourth signal is passed on to the muscle cells of the ventricles. The heart then beats up to 150 times per minute.
Sometimes this blocking of electrical excitations stops. Then so many excitations are transmitted to the ventricles that they beat at a rate of up to 300 per minute. The affected person then quickly becomes unconscious.
Atrial fibrillation: Symptoms
Because the heart beats very fast in Atrial fibrillation (more than 150 times per minute), sufferers almost always feel an uncomfortable racing and thumping heart. They feel tired, breathless, and dizzy. Many feel pressure on the chest. The rhythm disturbance usually begins suddenly. The pulse is fast and a little irregular, which is described as palpitations.
Atrial fibrillation: Causes and risk factors
Most often, Atrial fibrillation occurs when the heart is weakened by coronary artery disease, inflammation, or after heart surgery. Very rarely, Atrial fibrillation can occur without a specific trigger.
Atrial fibrillation: Diagnosis and examination
It is usually sufficient for the doctor to order an electrocardiogram (ECG / EKG). Electrodes placed on the chest are used to record the heart’s electrical activity, which is then recorded by a recorder. Sometimes the ECG must be collected over a period of 24 hours or longer to document Atrial fibrillation.
Because Afib is irregularly irregular, it is easily diagnosed by humans and automated like, AI ECG Monitors.
If Atrial fibrillation cannot be diagnosed by an ECG, an electrophysiological examination can be performed. It is like a cardiac catheterization, where an electrode catheter is advanced to the heart through a groin vein. It measures the electrical excitation directly at the heart. If atrial fibrillation is detected during the examination, it can be treated while the examination is still in progress.
Atrial fibrillation: Treatment
Atrial fibrillation can be stopped for a time by a procedure called electro cardioversion. This therapy method is like defibrillation during resuscitation. First, two electrodes are attached to the patient’s chest. The patient is then anesthetized. The doctor then sends a short electric shock through the patient’s heart through the electrodes. The electric shock usually causes it to fall back into the correct rhythm. All the patient’s vital signs are monitored. However, after cardioversion, A fib usually returns after some time.
If Atrial fibrillation occurs more frequently, a catheter ablation can cure the affected person. For this purpose, an electrode catheter is guided to the heart through the inguinal vein. The catheter can be used to obliterate the area where the Afib develops. The cure rate with this treatment is than 95+ percent.
Atrial fibrillation: Course of the disease and prognosis
In almost all cases, Atrial fibrillation can be cured by catheter ablation. However, the prognosis is particularly dependent on the heart disease that triggered the Afib.
Atrial fibrillation is sometimes dangerous if each excitation is transmitted directly to the ventricles. Medication can also help.
Since Afib increases the risk of stroke, sufferers often need to be given blood-thinning medication. If ablation has been successful, blood-thinning treatment for Afib is usually no longer necessary.
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