Atrial Fibrillation

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common kind of arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is a condition in which there is a problem with the rhythm or rate of the heartbeat. The heart can beat with an irregular rhythm, too slow or too fast during an arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation happens when disorganized or rapid electrical signals make the two upper chambers of the heart fibrillate. The meaning of fibrillate is to contract irregularly or very fast. Blood gets pooled in the atria during atrial fibrillation. The blood doesn’t get completely pumped into the two lower chambers of the heart known as ventricles. This results in the lower and upper chambers of the heart not working as well as they should. Individuals with atrial fibrillation may not experience any symptoms but although the condition is not noticed it can increase the chances of a stroke. In some individuals atrial fibrillation can cause heart failure or chest pain, especially if the rhythm of the heart is very fast. Atrial fibrillation can occur rarely or it could become a long-term problem of the heart that goes on for years. Therefore, it is important that you understand what is atrial fibrillation and take steps to deal with it as soon as possible.

Alternative Names: The alternative names for atrial fibrillation are auricular fibrillation, A fib, supraventricular tachyarrhythmia and supraventricular arrhythmia. 
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  2. William B. Kannel, Emelia J. Benjamin, Current Perceptions of the Epidemiology of Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiology Clinics, Volume 27, Issue 1, February 2009, Pages 13-24, ISSN 0733-8651, 10.1016/j.ccl.2008.09.015.