Answers to Common Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about atrial fibrillation.

What is atrial fibrillation (A Fib)?

Premier Health’s Dr. Kevin Kravitz explains atrial fibrillation (A Fib). Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Atrial fibrillation (also called atrial flutter or A Fib) is the most common type of irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Atrial fibrillation happens when disorganized electrical signals cause the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to contract so quickly that they are no longer truly beating but rather quivering. Normally, the sinoatrial (SA) node sends an electrical signal 60 to 100 times per minute, resulting in a normal heart rhythm of 60 to 100 beats per minute. During A Fib, however, the SA node sends signals much more frequently and/or irregularly, resulting in a heart rate of 100 to 175 beats per minute.

You can see the difference between a normal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation in this video from the American Heart Association (AHA).

As the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) explains, during atrial fibrillation, the atria are beating so quickly that blood is not effectively pumped into the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). As a result:

  • Blood pools in the atria, increasing the risk of blood clot and stroke
  • The atria and ventricles beat out of sync
  • The ventricles begin to beat very quickly

Because the ventricles are not properly filled with blood, blood flow to the rest of the body may also be impaired.

To learn more about atrial fibrillation please speak with your health care provider.

Learn more:

Source: Kevin Kravitz, MD, Dayton Heart Center; Mark E. Krebs, MD, Miami Valley Cardiologists; Abdul Wase, MD, The Premier Heart Associates; Sameh Khouzam, MD, Dayton Heart Center

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