Atrial Fibrillation

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Cardiac Electrophysiology

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Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmia in which the upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria, beat fast and irregularly.

Symptoms

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include:
• Shortness of breath
• Dizziness
• Chest pain
• Palpitations, or pounding

Sometimes a person will experience no symptoms.

Causes

AF is most commonly associated with:
• Advancing age
• High blood pressure
• Heart disease due to other causes such as heart attack, diabetes, congestive heart failure or valve disease
• Aftermath of heart surgery

If AF occurs in people with none of these conditions, it is called “lone” atrial fibrillation.

Diagnosis

AF is diagnosed by recording the rhythm of the heart with an electrocardiogram, known as an ECG, or another type of heart monitor. An irregular pulse alone does not indicate atrial fibrillation because such a pulse can be caused by many heart rhythm disorders.

Treatment

Not everyone with AF requires treatment. Those who do may need medication, including blood thinners to reduce the chance of a stroke. Other treatments such as electrical cardioversion or ablation may be necessary.

Videos

Select videos from the playlist below to learn more about AV, including treatment options, success rates, patient stories, and more.

Watch 3D animations that explain atrial fibrillation and how electrical cardioversion restores a normal heart rhythm.