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- Family history of atrial fibrillation
- Cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attack, heart valve disease, endocarditis, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, prior episode of atrial fibrillation
- Lung diseases, such as emphysema, asthma, blood clots in the lungs
- Chronic conditions, such as overactive thyroid, diabetes
- Receiving general anesthesia
- Lifestyle factors:
- Irregular or rapid pulse or heart beat
- Racing feeling in the chest
- A pounding feeling in the chest
- Lightheadedness, which can lead to fainting
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or weakness
- Unable to exercise
- Ask about your symptoms and medical history
- Perform a physical exam
- Listen to your heart with a stethoscope
- Return your heart to a regular rhythm.
- Keep your heart rate close to normal—In general, your resting rate should be between 60-80 beats per minute. It should be 90-115 beats per minute during moderate exercise.
- Prevent blood clots from forming.
- Slow the heart rate
- Keep the heart in a regular rhythm
- Prevent clot formation
- Cardioversion—This procedure uses an electrical current or drugs to help normalize the heart rhythm.
- Ablation—An area of the heart that is responsible for atrial fibrillation may be surgically removed or altered.
- Maze procedure and mini-maze procedure—The Maze procedure creates a pattern of scar tissue in the upper chambers of the heart. This makes a pathway for electrical impulses to travel through the heart. It also blocks the pathway for fast or irregular impulses. The Maze procedure may also be performed as minimally invasive surgery (called mini-Maze ).
- Avoid known triggers
- Exercise regularly within your doctor's guidelines
- Control other chronic conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
Heart Rhythm Society http://www.hrsonline.org
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation http://www.heartandstroke.com
Atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 17, 2012. Accessed November 9, 2012.
Atrial fibrillation. CardioSmart website. Available at: http://cardiosmart.org/HeartDisease/CTT.aspx?id=222. Accessed November 9, 2012.
Cardioversion. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/services/cversion. Updated December 28, 2011. Accessed November 9, 2012.
Explore atrial fibrillation. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/af. Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed November 9, 2012.
12/13/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Lubitz SA, Yin X, et al. Association between familial atrial fibrillation and risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation. JAMA. 2010;304(20):2263-2269.
5/11/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Osbak PS, Mourier M, et al. A randomized study of the effects of exercise training on patients with atrial fibrillation. Am Heart J. 2011;162(6):1080-1087.
1/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Abed HS, Wittert GA, et al. Effect of weight reduction and cardiometabolic risk factor management on symptom burden and severity in patients with atrial fibrillation: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2013;310(19):2050-2060.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 01/14/2014 -