ABC Medical Center > Atrial fibrillation

What is Atrial fibrillation?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a serious anomaly in which there is heart rate acceleration and the atria beat uncontrollably and irregularly, hindering breathing. If it is not diagnosed and treated in time, it can cause the formation of blood clots that can travel from the heart to the brain and cause a stroke (cerebrovascular accident), heart failure, or heart attack, all of which are life-threatening.

Atrial fibrillation can be idiopathic and appear unexpectedly, but it is usually due to:

  • Sleep disorders such as apnea.
  • Diabetes.
  • Pre-existing heart disease, including congenital.
  • Stress.
  • Stimulant abuse.
  • Alcoholism, smoking, and drug addiction.
  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Metabolic disorders.
  • Viral infections.
  • Obesity.
  • Pulmonary ailments.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.

There are several types of atrial fibrillation depending on the duration of the episodes, including:

  • Intermittent: Symptoms come and go, lasting a few minutes, hours, or weeks.
  • Long-lasting: heart rhythm alteration does not stop by itself, it is necessary to correct it with medical and pharmacological treatment.
  • Long-term: the symptoms are present for more than a year.
  • Permanent: it is not possible to restore the normal heart rhythm, so drugs are required to control it and prevent the formation of clots.

Signs and symptoms Atrial fibrillation

Although some people may not have signs of atrial fibrillation, the characteristic symptoms are:

  • Exhaustion.
  • Weakness.
  • Daze.
  • Inability to breathe normally.
  • Tightness and pain in the chest.
  • Fast and irregular heartbeat.
  • Dizziness.
  • Decreased physical capacity.

If atrial fibrillation is not treated and controlled early, it can weaken the heart and lead to heart failure. So if you have these symptoms, you must see a cardiologist immediately so that you can be diagnosed and treated promptly and avoid complications that put your health at risk.

Diagnosis and treatment Atrial fibrillation

Once the doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and will request various tests to be able to diagnose properly, such as:

  • Electrocardiogram.
  • Echocardiogram.
  • Holter monitor.
  • Stress tests.
  • X-rays.
  • Blood tests.

Once the origin of your atrial fibrillation has been identified, your doctor will define the most appropriate treatment for you based on your symptoms, their intensity, and the time you have had them. The main purpose is to restore the heart rate and prevent clot formation, either by ingesting drugs, electric shocks with a defibrillator, the placement of catheters, and in more extreme cases, surgery.

At the Cardiovascular Center, we offer you a wide range of prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and follow-up services to take care of you through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary care model. Come to us, we want to hear your heart.


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  • Bayés LA, Cygankiewicz I, Bayés GA, et al. Espectro clínico y complicaciones de la fibrilación auricular. Arch Cardiol Mex. 2004;74(Suppl: 2):293-297.
  • Vitón CAA, Rego ÁH. Consideraciones fisiopatológicas y diagnósticas sobre la fibrilación auricular. Rev Cub Med Int Emerg. 2020;19(2):1-17.
  • Obregón SA, Aroche AR, Aldama PL, et al. Cierre percutáneo de la orejuela izquierda en la fibrilación auricular no valvular. Rev Cubana Cardiol Cir Cardiovasc. 2020;26(4):1-4.

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