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Atrial Fibrillation

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation also known as AF is an irregular heart rhythm that affects the upper chambers of the heart which we called the atria. In atrial fibrillation, the atria are fibrillating instead of beating normally.  The atria can beat as fast as 300 times a minute or more.


How do I know if I have AF?

Atrial fibrillation can result in symptoms that include tiredness, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting and in some cases stroke.

Would generally classify AF into three types

  1. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation refers to the atrial fibrillation which occurs sometimes and then stops.  It may last for seconds, minutes, hours or even up to 7 days.

  2. Persistent atrial fibrillation occurs when atrial fibrillation does not stop by itself.  Medications and sometimes a procedure called a cardioversion may be used to help a heart return to sinus rhythm.  Atrial fibrillation lasting 7 days to 12 months is called short lasting persistent atrial fibrillation.  Atrial fibrillation lasting greater than 12 months is called long-standing persistent.

  3. Permanent atrial fibrillation occurs when atrial fibrillation cannot be fixed.  This usually occurs when both the patient and their physician agree that they will continue to keep the heart in atrial fibrillation and control symptoms and use medicines to prevent stroke.

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