WHAT IS
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION? (AF)

Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heart rate that affects the upper chambers of the heart (atria). It prevents blood from being pumped efficiently to the rest of your body.

Normal heart rhythm

Atrial Fibrillation Rhythm

TYPES OF
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION (A.F.)


Comes and goes. It stops on its own.
It occurs from minutes to days.
In this stage, AF has more options for treatment.

It lasts for more than a week.
It will not stop on its own.
It can become permanent.
Treatment options are less than with paroxysmal AF

Continuous atrial fibrillation; the heart cannot return to its normal rhythm. Treatment options are very limited

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION? (A.F.)


The causes of AF are often unclear. In some cases, AF may be the result of:

  • Heart abnormality from birth
  • Damage to the heart structure from a previous heart attack
  • Heart valve problems
  • Aging process (elderly patients have more AF)
  • Atrial size (bigger atria have more chance of developing AF)

People with otherwise normal hearts may also develop AF.

RISK
FACTORS


NON-CONTROLLABLE


  • Family history
  • Advancing age
  • Heart disorders from birth

CONTROLLABLE


  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Excess weight
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Alcohol intake
  • Sleep apnea
  • Caffeine
  • Some medications

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When discussing with your doctor, you may want to use this document to help guide the conversation

When discussing with your doctor, you may want to use this document to help guide the conversation

Take care of your heartbeat is an educational initiative designed to inform people about heart rhythm disorders. It is brought to you by Medtronic.
Information on this site does not constitute medical advice.
Always consult with your physician about treatment options and if you have any questions or concerns about your health.

Last updated March 2021

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    TERMS AND CONDITIONS

    Information on this site does not constitute medical advice. Ask your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.