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Atrial Fibrillation

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation or A-fib is an irregular heart rhythm condition which is also known as arrhythmia. It causes interruptions in the blood flow and increases heart palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath. This condition involves a high risk of blood clots if left untreated. The condition is a very common one across the globe.

Types of atrial fibrillation

The three types of atrial fibrillation are there which include:

  • Paroxysmal Afib: It doesn’t last for more than one week and often goes away on its own without treatment
  • Persistent Afib: It can last for more than a week and requires treatment.
  • Long-standing persistent Afib: This type of AF lasts for around a year and at times it can be complex to treat.

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

Not every person with atrial fibrillation experiences symptoms and some people might experience them occasionally. The most commonly atrial fibrillation symptoms are:

  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath, primarily, during activity or exercise
  • The feeling of dizziness, low blood pressure, light-headedness, and fainting
  • Feelings of confusion and unease

What are the causes of Atrial fibrillation?

The most common cause of atrial fibrillation is heart structure issues. Here are other possible atrial fibrillation causes:

  • Heart valve issues
  • Lung disease
  • Physical stress because of pneumonia, surgery, or illnesses
  • Heart attack
  • Heart defect an individual is born with
  • Issues with the natural pacemaker of the heart
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Thyroid disease and metabolic imbalance
  • Viral infections
  • Stimulants usages such as caffeine, tobacco, medications, and alcohol

What is the process for atrial fibrillation diagnosis?

For atrial fibrillation diagnosis, the doctor will first begin with some questions. The patient is required to share information about their physical activity, diet, family history, and symptoms being experienced. It is crucial to share the information as it assists the doctor to make a proper diagnosis. A physical exam is also done to confirm the condition which are:

  • Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart rhythm of a patient
  • Checking the pulse and blood pressure
  • Examining the thyroid gland size to determine issues related to thyroid
  • Examining any signs of swelling in the feet or legs to identify heart failure
  • Detecting heart failure or infection by listening to the patient’s lungs

Additional tests are ordered to make an atrial fibrillation diagnosis which is electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and blood tests.

What are the treatment options for atrial fibrillation?

The primary aim of atrial fibrillation treatment is:

  • Regain the normal heart rhythm
  • Reduce the risk of heart stroke
  • Controlling the heart rate

Depending on the symptoms, the doctor will recommend some medication to see if they are helpful.


Here are the medications that are usually prescribed:

  • Rate control medications: It helps in preventing the heart ventricles from beating too fast. The medicines include verapamil, diltiazem, digoxin, and metoprolol
  • Rhythm control medications: It assists the patient’s heart to beat in a regular sinus rhythm. The prescribed medications often are disopyramide, flecainide acetate, procainamide, sotalol, etc.
  • Blood thinners: It prevents the risk of blood clots and heart stroke. Recommended medications are aspirin, warfarin, and alternatives to warfarin


If medications are not helpful to the patient, then there might be a requirement for surgery. The surgery options recommended depending on the condition and symptoms are electrical cardioversion, pulmonary vein ablation, permanent pacemaker, MAZE procedure, and left atrial appendage closure.

Why should you choose BM Birla Heart Research Centre for atrial fibrillation treatment?

BM Birla Heart Research Centre in Kolkata is a healthcare service delivering exceptional healthcare services to its patients. Our hospital is incorporated with the most advanced and state-of-the-art clinical technology. Our cardiology department is filled with the most talented and highly-qualified cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurses, and other staff members.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of atrial fibrillation and looking for treatment, then look no further. Get in touch with us our team will make sure that everything is taken care of for you and your journey will be smooth with us.


How to calculate heart rate in atrial fibrillation?

The heart rate in atrial fibrillation is calculated by placing the index and middle finger on the right hand on the left wrist at the thumb base. It will involve the use of a second hand on a watch or clock. Then, one must count the number of beats for at least thirty seconds.

When is a pacemaker needed for atrial fibrillation?

The pacemaker is recommended for patients with atrial fibrillation if it keeps coming and going away. If the heart rate is always fast when experiencing the condition and slow without atrial fibrillation, then it is known as tachy-brady syndrome.

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