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Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation: Symptoms, Cause and Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment | National Heart Centre Singapore

Atrial Fibrillation - What it is

​Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an abnormal heart rhythm characterised by rapid and irregular beating. This may result in heart failure in acute and chronic settings. AF also predisposes a patient to blood clot formation in the atrial, particularly the left atrial appendage. In an event of clot embolization from the heart to the brain, stroke occurs.

Atrial Fibrillation - Symptoms

​Patients may feel palpitations, chest discomfort, exercise intolerance,  shortness of breath, fainting spells or giddiness.

Atrial Fibrillation - How to prevent?

​Treatment and control of the underlying medical/cardiac problems may help to prevent the onset of atrial fibrillation. These include good blood pressure control, reducing cardiovascular risk factors, moderation of alcohol intake and curative treatment of valvular heart disease.

Atrial Fibrillation - Causes and Risk Factors

​Common causes of AF are valvular heart disease, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, hyperthyroidism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea and excessive alcohol intake.

Atrial Fibrillation - Diagnosis

A thorough medical history should be obtained from the patient with suspected or known AF. 

Physical examination will show irregular pulse. Electrocardiogram will show absent P waves and rapid disorganised electrical activity.

Atrial Fibrillation - Treatments

Targets of treatment can be rate or rhythm control, and stroke prevention.

Medical therapy with drugs can be given to slow down the heart rate. Conversion of AF back to normal sinus rhythm can be achieved by drugs, cardioversion with an electrical impulse or electrophysiology study with ablation. 

Stroke prevention is achieved by anticoagulation with strong blood thinning agents. 
Alternatively, treatment for the heart’s left atrial appendage is also available in the form of the WATCHMAN® left atrial appendage device, which is a permanent implant designed to keep harmful sized blood clots from entering your blood stream.

Your doctor will assess and evaluate the extent of your condition, before recommending the most suitable treatment. 

Atrial Fibrillation - Preparing for surgery

Atrial Fibrillation - Post-surgery care

Atrial Fibrillation - Other Information

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