How does the heart work? And what is Atrial Fibrillation? Dr Jose Osorio
If you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, it is important to understand this condition, how it affects you and your treatment options.
What is atrial fibrillation or Afib?
Atrial Fibrillation is a rhythm disorder that takes place in the top chamber of the heart. Your heart has four chambers and the top chambers are called the Atria, while the lower chambers are the ventricles. Under normal conditions your heart first contracts in the top chamber and then in the lower chamber.
Sinus Rhythm and the Conduction System of the Heart
We have an electrical system that controls the heart. Think about it as your own pacemaker. The electricity activity starts in what we call the sinus node and then via the AV node goes to the lower chamber. We call this “Sinus Rhythm”- the normal rhythm of the heart.
Atrial fibrillation is a disease where the rhythm is chaotic and the top chamber is no longer contracting – but rather just quivering very fast. This will cause symptoms and increase the risk of strokes. The most common symptoms for atrial fibrillation are palpitations, fast heart beat, fatigue and shortness of breath. In patients with persistent Atrial fibrillation who are in afib all the time, the most common symptom is simply fatigue.
The stroke risk is increased because blood clots may form in the top chamber when you are in afib.
There are many treatment options to improve your quality of life and reduce your risk of strokes.
Dr Jose Osorio
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