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Atrial Fibrillation And Treatment

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) or Afib is the most common heart rhythm disorder and effects around 1per cent of the population. Its becomes even more common with increasing age. It seldom occurs in those under 40 years old, but occurs in up to 5% per cent of those over 80 years of age. It’s favorite age to strike is “my age” late forties to early fifties. I am 52; mine started when I was 51 but could have been happening for months or even years unnoticed. It should be said Atrial Fibrillation is an electrical problem in the heart and not a plumbing problem like a normal heart attack or blockage.

 When atrial fibrillation is first observed it can sometimes be converted back to normal sinus rhythm with medications or a cardioversion with external shocks. There are some pharmaceuticals that, taken regularly, can help to prevent atrial fibrillation from reoccurring. If atrial fibrillation becomes a chronic condition that cannot be alleviated by these treatments, steps are taken to help make the condition easier and safer to live with. Atrial fibrillation clients should be treated with blood thinner unless there is a contraindication present, such as bleeding ulcers or a history of stroke. The atrium now is unable to clear the out blood with each stroke and therefore the blood pools and poses a hazard for forming blood clots. Should a blood clot form, it could easily travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, or to the brain, causing a stroke; each causing a potentially debilitating, even fatal situation.

 Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

 The common Causes of Atrial Fibrillation:

 Heart failure.
 Congenital heart disease.
 Chronic lung disease.
 Heart valve disease.
 After heart surgery.
 Pulmonary embolism.
 Hypertension (high blood pressure).
 Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
 Some Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation:
 Shortness of breath.
 Pulse may feel rapid, racing, pounding, fluttering, or it can feel too slow.
 Chest pain.

 Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

 Drugs (such as ibutilide) can sometimes restore the heart’s normal rhythm. These drugs are given under medical supervision, and are delivered through an IV tube into a vein, usually in the patient’s arm.
 Electrical cardioversion may be used to restore normal heart rhythm with an electric shock, when medication doesn’t improve symptoms.
 Surgery can be used to disrupt electrical pathways that generate AF.
 Radiofrequency ablation may be effective in some patients when medications don’t work. In this procedure, thin and flexible tubes are introduced through a blood vessel and directed to the heart muscle. Then a burst of radiofrequency energy is delivered to destroy tissue that triggers abnormal electrical signals or to block abnormal electrical pathways.
 Atrial pacemakers can be implanted under the skin to regulate the heart rhythm.
 Medications are used to slow down rapid heart rate associated with AF. These treatments may include drugs such as digoxin, beta blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol), amiodarone, disopyramide, calcium antagonists (verapamil, diltiazam), sotalol, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine, propafenone, etc.

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