Atrial fibrillation is the most prevalent form of irregular heart rhythm that originates in the atria. Various impulses swiftly fire at the same time, resulting to a fast, muddled rhythm in the atria. Due to this, the atria could not contract and/or squeeze blood properly into the ventricle.
The impulses should travel in a systemic manner through the heart, but if the individual has atrial fibrillation, several impulses start at the same time and spread throughout the atria, competing for a chance to move into the AV node.
The ventricles shrink erratically which results to a rapid and unequal heartbeat. The rate of the impulses in the atria spans between 300-600 beats in a minute.
Potential dangers of atrial fibrillation
Some individuals can live for years with atrial fibrillation without experiencing any issues. Nevertheless, atrial fibrillation can lead to future problems.
- Since the atria is rapidly beating in an irregular manner, blood could not flow through as quickly which makes it likely for a clot to develop. In case the clot is driven out of the heart, it can move to the brain to trigger a stroke. Individuals with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk for a stroke. In some cases, the clot might move to other parts of the body and cause damage.
- Atrial fibrillation reduces the pumping ability of the heart. This irregularity makes the heart less efficient. Additionally, if atrial fibrillation occurs over an extended period, it can significantly weaken the heart and result to heart failure.
- The condition is linked to an increased risk for stroke, heart failure and even death.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on atrial fibrillation is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this circulatory issue, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.