The heart consists of four chambers. The upper chambers are referred as the right, and the left atria and the lower chambers are called the right and left ventricles. The heart’s pumping action is regulated by electrical pulses that originate from the Sinoatrial (SA) node located in the right atrium. The Impulses from SA node which is also pace checker then travels the atrioventricular (AV) node, which is also another heart pace checker. Antrionvecular node subsequently conducts the impulses to the ventricles. This results in the proper coordination of the pumping action of the heart.
The right ventricle receives blood and puts it into the pulmonary system in order to collect oxygen whilst blood from the left ventricle is then pumped to the rest of the body. A healthy heart has a regular, constant rhythm that beats at about sixty to a hundred times in a minute.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (FA) is a common arrhythmia that results in an abnormality in the rhythm of the heart. Arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or the pace of the heartbeat. During AF a heart may beat too slow, too fast or with an irregular rhythm. The atrial condition often occurs if there are rapid or disorganized electrical signals from the left and right atria. When upper chambers fibrillate (contract very fast and irregularly), they cause the abnormality in a heartbeat. If an individual has an atrial fibrillation disorder, the electrical impulses do not generally arise from the SA node, and instead many impulses begin simultaneously from the SA node and spread through the upper chambers competing for a chance to travel through the AV node. Because of this abnormality, the impulses cause a very disorganized, rapid, irregular heartbeat.
The rate of the pulses through the atrial range from three hundred to six hundred beats per minutes. However, since the pulses pass through the AV node, they get slowed to resulting in a pulse rate that is less than 150 beats per minute.
Classification of Atrial Fibrillation
Paroxysmal AF condition means that episodes of AF stop spontaneously and usually from 3 to 7 days.
Persistent AF state has episodes of atrial fibrillation that more than a week.
Non-valvular AF refers to AF that occurs in the absence of any disease involving the heart valves.
Permanent AF condition applies to AF that has failed to convert to a regular rhythm.
Lone AF refers to AF occurring in children with no clinical evidence of a significant disease that can cause this condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?
Some of the individuals who have atrial fibrillation may be entirely asymptomatic. However, other people may have the following symptoms; chest discomfort, palpitations, giddiness, shortness of breath and fatigue.
The risk of atrial fibrillation includes, but not limited to increasing age, obesity, metabolic syndrome, chronic renal disease, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.
Why is Atrial Fibrillation Dangerous?
We hope that you have understood exactly what is atrial fibrillation? But is this condition dangerous? Yes, it is very dangerous because it raises the risk of strokes significantly. If a person has AF situation, he/she is 3 to 5 times more likely to have strokes than an individual who does not have atrial fibrillation. A doctor can help you to manage this condition by performing a physical examination through the use of electrocardiograms, chest x-rays, and blood tests. The doctors usually manage the AF condition by slowing down the heart rate, restoring and maintaining the normal heartbeat and to preventing stroke.