Important to know and understand is that atrial fibrillation (AF) has various causes (also known to be associated with many cardiac conditons) or triggers, sometimes being a one time-only occurrence, or may/can come and go, or be chronic.
During AF, electrical signals in the atria occur in a very fast, uncontrolled, and chaotic manner so that the atria quiver instead of contract, producing ineffective and disorganized atrial contractions. These disorganized electrical signals then arrive at the ventricles in an irregular fashion.
As reported, AF is an independent risk factor for a brain attack/stroke (increasing the risk about 5-fold), and significantly increases all-cause mortality in most age groups. Additionally, some individuals with AF are at an increased risk of heart failure or cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease).
There are a small % of individuals in which a reversible cause for AF can be readily identified, e.g., alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes, and thus AF does not recur once the cause has been alleviated.
As applicable, goals for managing recurrent or chronic AF are to restore and maintain the normal atrial rhythm and pumping function, control the ventricular rate, prevent any correlating major adverse cardiac event.
Correct any electrolyte imbalance/defficiency, in particular, potassium, magnesium. Consider cardioversion (externally shocking the heart into normal sinus rhythm, which may/can fail). Control the ventricular response. Consider anticoagulation (Coumadin) therapy, or new drugs that may be/are becoming/have become available.
Best of luck down the road of life.
WebMD member (since 8/99)
Learn about the heart's delicate and precise electrical conduction system
I had this done over a year ago, and am virtually symptom free now, no longer on antiarrythmia drugs. The procedure takes 3-4 hours and you will be hospitalized overnight while they monitor your heart to ensure it is in normal sinus rhythm and you have no serious complications from the procedure (bleeding at groin, perforated heart, etc.) The main side effect that I experienced was chest pains for a day, which is normal. There are other potential side effects which you should discuss with an electrophysiologist, but overall the procedure is generally quite safe. It is quite common to continue to experience afib for up to 3 months after the procedure, so you will need to be on anticoagulants and probably afib medication during that time, depending on the frequency / severity of the afib episodes. If you have sleep apnea, or think you may have sleep apnea, definitely get that treated as this can contribute to afib. Aslo, note that alcohol and chocolate can be afib triggers, so consume these sparingly if at all. I've even had stressful episodes trigger afib on occassion. Good luck!
It is very vital to know what is your heart rate.You must reduce your heart rate with medicines if you have a high heart rate.In case of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation you may be relieved of your disease all on your own but in your case it may be persistent or permanent atrial fibrillation.There are new drugs in the market with relatively less side effects.You may try them but only after consulting your physician or cardiologist.If you have slow atrial fibrillation then also you need to take aspirin or anticoagulants provided you do not have side effects.So just diet and life style changes would not work.
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