Florida Region

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Heart Rhythm Disorders

Heart Rhythm Disorders

What is AFib?

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) caused by faulty firing of electrical impulses in the heart that stem from the development of abnormal tissue. These abnormal signalsHeart-shaped stethoscope over cardiogram results cause the upper chambers of the heart, or atria, to quiver instead of contracting and relaxing in a regular rhythm. This irregularity in the atria causes them to pump blood inefficiently into the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart. Because this inefficient pumping can slow down the blood flow, it can increase the risk of blood clot formation, which in turn increases the risk of stroke.

AFib is typically classified into three categories:
Paroxysmal: Paroxysmal AFib symptoms and irregular electrical signals start and stop on their own, often within 24 hours but usually within a week.
Persistent: AFib is considered persistent when the rhythm abnormalities last longer than a week, and require treatment to return to normal rhythm.
Permanent/Long-Standing: AFib is considered permanent when treatment fails to restore a normal heart rhythm. Permanent AFib can result from either frequent paroxysmal or persistent AFib.
Symptoms of Afib

The most commonly recognized symptom of AFib is a “fluttering” heartbeat, or a heartbeat that is rapid and irregular. Other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Quivering or thumping in the chest
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Exercise fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain or pressure

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a relatively common heart defect that can lead to dire consequences if left untreated, including blood clots, stroke and heart failure. An estimated 15 – 20 percent of stroke victims suffer from atrial fibrillation. Our comprehensive afib programs are multidisciplinary centers that bring together cardiac electrophysiologists, a cardiothoracic surgeons and an interventional cardiologists- to provide seamless care to atrial fibrillation patients.

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