Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the top chambers of the heart (the atria) are beating exceedingly fast.  This causes the top chambers to quiver, instead of beating effectively.  In general, all of the electrical impulses in the atria are not conducted to the bottom chambers (the ventricles), but they are transmitted to the bottom chamber in an irregular manner and often yield fast heart rates.  This condition can predispose someone who has this condition to strokes (as blood can pool in the top chambers which are not beating effectively).  This condition can also cause  feelings of shortness of breath and dizziness. If the ventricles beat faster for a prolonged period of time, it can additionally cause a weakening of the heart muscle, which is called a cardiomyopathy.  
Treatment for atrial fibrillation includes:
  1. Decreasing stroke risk
  2. Preventing a cardiomyopathy by regulating the heart rate
  3. Minimizing symptoms of atrial fibrillation, which, if appropriate, is done by a strategy called rhythm control.  This can be done through medications or procedures to minimize the amount of atrial fibrillation
© 2015 Doctor Joshua Balog