Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Treatment

by Garreth Myers

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is a kind of atrial fibrillation, which is a term used to indicate a type of irregular heart rhythm. Clinically, the definition of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is the intermittent occurrence of irregular heartbeats. The heartbeat returns to normal pace within a matter of minutes, hours, or days on its own.

What Is The Cause For Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?
Causes of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation are often similar to those in chronic atrial fibrillation, despite the heart being in a good condition. The causes could include abnormal heart valves, exposure to stimulants such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol or medications, congenital heart defects, heart attacks, hypertension, metabolic imbalances caused by an overactive thyroid gland, lung diseases, prior heart surgery, sick sinus syndrome, sleep apnea and stress caused by illness, surgery or pneumonia.

The most common cause found in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation patients is sick sinus syndrome that occurs when the heart’s natural pacemaker (the sinus node) does not function properly. If none of the causes listed above are causing the fibrillation, then it is diagnosed as idiopathic.

Symptoms
Each person who is suffering from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation will have symptoms different from the other. Certain patients do not present any symptoms at all. The most common symptom that affects patients is palpitations, where a feeling of fast or irregular heartbeats is felt by the patient. Anxiety levels may also rise in patients due to this. It is mostly described as an irregular fluttering sensation in the chest. Other symptoms to watch out for are difficulty breathing, fainting, fatigue, giddiness, shortness of breath, and weakness. Some symptoms could be life threatening and may require immediate medical attention. These symptoms are low blood pressure or hypotension, decompensated congestive heart failure, shortness of breath, and angina or ischemia, where you feel considerable chest pains.

Treating paroxysmal atrial fibrillation

To confirm if you are suffering from irregular heartbeats, you will need to consult a doctor. He/she will listen to your heartbeat, check your pulse, or run an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) test to confirm diagnosis. If the atrial fibrillation appears sporadically, you could be suffering from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. The chances of blood clots arising in patients are rather high in such cases, because blood thinning medications are not as successful in such patients as they are in chronic atrial fibrillation patients. Your doctor will take into consideration the condition of your heart, age, and frequency of the paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, medical history and other factors before prescribing medicines for your treatment.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC514544/
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/af/ 
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