Atrial Fibrillation

Friday, April 16, 2010

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body and symptoms of heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. It is the most common cardiac disorder, found in about 2.2 million Americans. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about atrial fibrillation in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Atrial fibrillation occurs when the electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat in a regular rhythmic manner become disorganized, causing the heart to beat irregularly and often too fast with too little force.

Atrial fibrillation is more common in older people, people with high blood pressure and people with other kinds of heart disease. It can lead to serious health problems such as stroke, fatigue and heart failure.

Atrial fibrillation decreases the efficiency of the pumping action of the heart. It also increases the risk of formation of blood clots inside the heart. These blood clots can break off and go to other parts of the body, including the brain, where they can cause a stroke.

Some people with atrial fibrillation may not experience any symptoms at all. Others report feeling palpitations or may have chest discomfort or dizziness.

Treatment includes using medications to slow the heart rate to improve heart pumping efficiency and using anticoagulants to prevent stroke.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.