Atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib, is a fairly common condition that causes the upper part of the heart called the atria to beat quickly and in an uncontrolled manner, known as fibrillation. Sometimes it causes palpitations, a sensation of fluttering in the chest. This irregular and often rapid heart rate can cause poor blood flow to the body and an irregular pulse. It is a serious condition that requires medical attention.
A-fib can be occasional (symptoms come and go over minutes or hours) or chronic (symptoms do not go away without treatment). Often there is no obvious reason for developing it; however, according to Kent E. Morris, M.D., cardiologist and electrophysiologist, there are some factors that can increase your risk for it:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Excessive alcohol use
- Thyroid disease
“Treatment differs depending on the type of A-fib and the severity of the symptoms,” Dr. Morris said. “If episodes are mild, medications may take care of it. More serious cases or cases that don’t respond to medication may require surgery or an ablation procedure.”
If you have been experiencing heart palpitations (irregular or rapid heartbeat), shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, tiredness and weakness, don’t ignore it. Make an appointment with your physician.
About our physician
Kent E. Morris, M.D., practices at Norton Cardiovascular Associates – The Springs, The Springs Medical Center, Suite 200, 6420 Dutchmans Parkway, Louisville, KY 40205; (502) 891-8300
Visit NortonHealthcare.com/About-Afib to watch Dr. Morris explain A-fib in a video presentation. While you’re there, take a free online assessment to determine if you may be at risk.