Marengo CIMS Hospital is dedicated to providing comprehensive healthcare services and fostering patient well-being. As part of our commitment to patient education, we have developed the Marengo CIMS Hospital Medical Encyclopedia—an invaluable online resource designed to empower patients with knowledge about various medical conditions, treatments, and preventive measures. This encyclopedia serves as a trusted and accessible repository of medical information, allowing patients to make informed decisions regarding their health and collaborate more effectively with healthcare professionals.
What is Atrial Fibrillation? :
Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder where the electrical signals in the heart become chaotic, causing the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) to quiver or “fibrillate” instead of contracting normally. This can lead to an irregular and often rapid heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation is a condition that affects the way the heart beats. Our heart has a special rhythm that helps it pump blood to our body. But sometimes, the rhythm can become fast and irregular, like a butterfly fluttering its wings really quickly.
When someone has atrial fibrillation, their heart doesn’t beat in a regular way. It may beat too fast or too slow, and it can feel like their heart is racing or skipping beats. This can make them feel tired, dizzy, or have trouble catching their breath.
Atrial fibrillation happens because something is not quite right with the electrical signals that control the heart. These signals help the heart know when to beat and how fast to beat. When they get mixed up, it causes the heart to beat in a funny way.
Doctors can help people with atrial fibrillation. They can give them special medicine or do some tests to find out what is happening with their heart. Sometimes, the doctor may need to do a special treatment to help the heart beat normally again.
Even though atrial fibrillation can be a bit scary, many people with this condition can live normal and happy lives. They just need to take special care of their heart and follow the doctor’s instructions.
Causes and Risk Factors:
The causes of atrial fibrillation can vary, but some common factors include:
Age: The risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age, particularly for individuals over 65 years old.
High Blood Pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can strain the heart and increase the likelihood of atrial fibrillation.
Heart Disease: Conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart valve problems, or prior heart surgeries can contribute to atrial fibrillation.
Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put extra stress on the heart and increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation:
The symptoms of atrial fibrillation can vary from person to person. Some common signs include:
Irregular heartbeat or palpitations (a sensation of fast, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat).
Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
Fatigue or feeling tired easily.
Dizziness or light headedness.
Chest discomfort or pain.
Complications of Atrial Fibrillation:
Atrial fibrillation can lead to several complications, including:
Blood Clots: Blood may pool in the atria due to the irregular heartbeat, increasing the risk of blood clots. These clots can travel to other parts of the body, causing a stroke or other blockages.
Heart Failure: Prolonged or uncontrolled atrial fibrillation can weaken the heart muscle over time, leading to heart failure.
Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation:
To diagnose atrial fibrillation, a healthcare professional may perform the following:
Physical Examination: The doctor will assess your medical history, symptoms, and listen to your heartbeat for irregularities.
Electrocardiogram (ECG): This non-invasive test records the electrical activity of the heart and can help identify atrial fibrillation.
Holter Monitor: A portable ECG device worn for a period of time to monitor the heart’s electrical activity continuously.
Gadgets like the Apple Watch: It is also possible to detect atrial fibrillation (AF) with an Apple Watch. Apple has introduced a feature called “ECG” (electrocardiogram) in certain models of the Apple Watch. This feature allows users to record an ECG directly from their wrist.It’s important to note that the Apple Watch’s ECG feature is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. If you receive an AF notification or are concerned about your heart health, it’s recommended to consult with a Marengo Hospital healthcare professional as soon as possible who can provide a comprehensive evaluation.
Treatment for atrial fibrillation aims to control the heart rhythm, manage symptoms, and reduce the risk of complications. The treatment options include:
Medications: Anti-arrhythmic drugs, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or blood thinners may be prescribed to control heart rate, maintain normal rhythm, and prevent blood clots.
Non-Surgical Treatments: Non-surgical options include electrical cardio-version, where a controlled electric shock is delivered to the heart to restore normal rhythm, and catheter ablation, a procedure that uses heat or cold energy to destroy the abnormal heart tissue causing the irregular heartbeat.
Surgical Treatments: Surgical interventions, such as maze surgery or surgical ablation, may be considered for individuals who do not respond to other treatments. These procedures create scar tissue to redirect the electrical signals and restore a regularheart rhythm.
Prevention and Lifestyle Changes:
While atrial fibrillation may not always be preventable, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk and manage the condition:
Managing underlying conditions: Keeping conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease under control through medication and lifestyle modifications can help prevent atrial fibrillation.
Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy weight, following a balanced diet low in salt and saturated fats, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress, and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine intake can contribute to overall heart health.
Worldwide Statistics of Atrial Fibrillation:
Atrial fibrillation is a global health concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that around 33.5 million people worldwide were living with atrial fibrillation in 2010, and the numbers are expected in 2023 are rising due to an aging population.
The cardiologists at reputable healthcare institutions, including Marengo Asia Hospitals, follow established medical guidelines and best practices to provide optimal care for patients with Atrial Fibrillation. The specific treatment approach may vary depending on the patient’s individual condition, medical history, and other factors.
Here is a general overview of common treatment options for Atrial Fibrillation:
1. Medications: Cardiologists at our Marengo Asia Hospitals in India may prescribe medications to manage heart rate, restore and maintain a normal heart rhythm, and reduce the risk of blood clots. These may include anti-arrhythmic drugs, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or blood thinners (anticoagulants).
2. Cardio-version: In some cases, Marengo Asia Hospitals cardiologists may perform a procedure called cardioversion, where a controlled electrical shock is delivered to the heart to restore a normal heart rhythm.
3. Catheter Ablation: Marengo Cardiologists in India may recommend catheter ablation, which is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radio frequency energy or cryotherapy to selectively destroy the areas of the heart causing abnormal electrical signals and restore a regular heart rhythm.
4. Surgical Procedures: In more complex cases or when other treatments are not effective, our best cardiologists may collaborate with the top cardiac surgeons at Marengo Asia Hospitals to consider surgical interventions such as the Maze procedure or surgical ablation to create scar tissue and redirect the electrical signals in the heart.
5. Lifestyle Modifications: The best cardiologists working at Marengo Asia Hospitals in India may advise patients to make certain lifestyle changes to support their treatment and overall heart health. This may include maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress levels, avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine intake, and following a heart-healthy diet.
It’s important to note that the treatment approach can vary for each patient, and the cardiologists at Marengo Asia Hospitals in India would tailor the treatment plan based on the individual needs and condition of each patient.
For specific information about the treatments and procedures offered at Marengo Asia Hospitals in India, we would recommend reaching out to the individual hospital directly or consulting with a healthcare professional from the institution. Feel free to to go to the contact page to seek an appointment for you or your loved one. Our Marengo Cardiologists are eager to see and meet you and help handle your condition in the best possible way.