Atrial Fibrillation

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Atrial Fibrillation


a cardiac arrhythmia whose basis is a disturbance in atrial activity. Atrial fibrillation often occurs with heart defects, cardiosclerosis, rheumatic endocarditis, and thyrotoxicosis, but there is no generally accepted theory to explain how it develops.

A distinction is made between paroxysmal and continuous atrial fibrillation. Continuous fibrillation may be tachyrhythmic (rapid), with a pulse of 90 to 150–180 beats per minute, or bradyrhythmic (slow), in which the pulse is never more than 60–80 beats per minute. The tachyrhythmic form is associated with sensations of palpitations, pounding, general excitement, and weakness. Patients with the bradyrhythmic form usually do not sense the arrhythmia, which is often detected only by electrocardiographic examination.

Although atrial flutter arises from the same conditions as atrial fibrillation, it is distinguished from atrial fibrillation in that the number of atrial impulses reaches 300 and the pulse may be as rapid as 240–300 beats per minute. A distinction is made between regular flutter, in which every second or third impulse travels successfully from the atria to the ventricles, and irregular flutter, in which the alternation of atrial and ventricular contractions is irregular. Atrial flutter is more difficult for patients to tolerate than is fibrillation.

Cardiac arrhythmias are treated with cardiac glycosides, quinidine, Novocainamid, Inderal, Aimalin, potassium salts, cocarboxylase, and electropulse therapy.


References in periodicals archive ?
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, reported this month in Annals of Internal Medicine that people with a high rate of premature atrial contractions, which can be detected by a Holter monitor worn for 24 hours, face a significantly increased risk of developing A-fib.
Those who suffer from chronic A-Fib also suffer a risk of death.
Lifestyle interventions (see What You Can Do) can go a long way toward preventing a-fib or reducing its impact," explains MGH cardiologist and researcher Steven Lubitz, MD, MPH.
And finally, do note that many people may have some form of a-fib but may not be aware of an abnormal heartbeat.
Pericardiectomy was performed with a postoperative course complicated with A-fib with rapid ventricular response.
Regarding your other question, it usually takes at least a week of rapid a-fib to decrease cardiac pump function.
A literature search showed several cases of accident-induced A-Fib; one case pinpointed the car accident as the cause of the A-Fib 3 years after the accident The A-Fib, which was irreversible with shock or chemical cardioversion, was ablated and the patient stayed in sinus rhythm and was recovering well up to the point of the second car accident.
Atrial fibrillation, often called A-fib, is the most common form of irregular heartbeat.
My cardiologist tells me now my heart is in chronic A-fib.
New research involving data on 38,000 older adults suggests that a procedure called catheter ablation may reduce the risk of stroke among individuals with A-fib to levels seen in individuals without the disorder.
Chronic a-fib also causes the upper chambers of the heart, the atria, to dilate, and this tends to perpetuate the abnormal rhythm, as well.