Q: What is A-fib?
A: Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib for short, is the most common irregular heart rhythm that originates in the atrium, or top chamber of the heart. Instead of the usual regular rhythm that starts from an area called the sinus node, many different and separate impulses direct the heart rhythm, often resulting in a fast, chaotic and irregular rhythm. The atria cannot contract normally, and therefore, this prevents the normal flow of blood from the top chambers to the bottom chambers of the heart.
Q: What are some risk factors for A-fib and how can they be controlled?
A: Common risk factors include high blood pressure, heart failure, prior heart attacks, sleep apnea and lung disease. Patients with any prior cardiac history may also be at an increased risk for A-fib.
Q: What kinds of complications can A-fib lead to?
A: Atrial fibrillation can progressively lead to congestive heart failure without the appropriate treatment and management. It can also lead to a substantial increase in the annual risk of stroke.
Q: What else should we know about A-fib?
A: Atrial fibrillation is a condition that warrants regular follow-up with a cardiologist or an electrophysiologist. It is a condition now that may be reversible, associated with other lung or cardiac processes, and may be treated with specialized medications or procedures. Since A-fib is a progressive disease, earlier detection and treatment is highly recommended.
Here at the Medical Center of McKinney, we are dedicated to the health of your heart! For more information on Atrial Fibrillation and other conditions of the heart, contact us today. Visit us online or give us a call at 972-547-8000 to learn about our facility and services.