Atrial Fibrillation

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and other cardiac complications. When atrial fibrillation happens, the atria and the ventricles or the upper and the lower chambers of the heart would not be synchronized with one another. It could either come sometimes and repeat at intervals or not go at all.

By itself, atrial fibrillation may not be very dangerous. However, it is a complex situation of the heart that screams for attention, because it can lead to blood clots and blood blockages.


A few symptoms of atrial fibrillation may be:

  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue and lesser ability for physical activities
  • Angina or chest pain
  • Palpitations or irregular heartbeats


The possible causes of atrial fibrillation could be chaotic electrical impulses. Inside your right atrium, the upper chamber is the sinus node, your heart’s natural pacemaker. The normal range for heartbeat is 60-100 per minute, whereas during atrial fibrillation, your heartbeat could be in the range of 100-175 per minute.
The possible causes for this phenomenon could be:

  • Congenital heart diseases
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Viral infections
  • Abnormal valves in the heart
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Exposure to radiation, alcohol and tobacco
  • Sickness of the sinus
  • Lung diseases
  • Cardiac surgeries in the past


Atherosclerosis happens due to several risk factors like aging, lack of physical activities, obesity, diabetes, consumption of unhealthy food, high blood pressure and cholesterol, family history of heart disease, etc.


Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight by regular exercising and healthy dietary food are to be incorporated to prevent atherosclerosis.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, your doctor might use the following means to diagnose atrial fibrillation: 


How is it treated?

Treatment offered to atrial fibrillation will depend on the root cause, the symptoms being experienced and severity of your condition. The two primary goals for atrial fibrillation are resetting the rhythm of heartbeat and preventing blood clots.<..

  • Electrical cardioversion

     A momentary pause in your heart’s electrical activity is brought about by delivering electrical shock. When the beats are restored back, in most of the cases the rhythm gets set back to normal.

  • Pharmaceutical cardioversion

    Drugs that are referred to as anti-arrhythmia are used in this method to restore normal rhythm in the sinus. This could be either intravenous or oral administration. If this method works, you would be prescribed the same medication to be taken whenever the episodes reoccur.

  • Catheter ablation

    A slender tube called catheter is inserted into your heart and the problematic areas are destroyed using radiofrequency energy.

  • Surgical maze procedure

    This method requires an open-heart surgery in which your surgeon will use a scalpel to create many precise incisions in your atria, to create a pattern of scar tissue. These scar tissues do not conduct electricity and they reduce rapid discharge of electrical impulses.

  • Atrioventricular node ablation

    In this procedure, radiofrequency is applied to atrioventricular node. A pacemaker is then implanted to monitor the rhythm of the heart. After this process, you might be continuously required to take blood-thinning medication to reduce the possibilities of getting a blood clot and a stroke.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you have symptoms like weakness, chest pain, reduced ability to exercise, fainting, and shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately.

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