Heart & Vascular:
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
What Happens During AFib?
Usually, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's upper chambers (the atria) beat irregularly instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles.
If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream, and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, it results in a stroke. About 15–20 percent of people who have strokes have this heart arrhythmia. This clot risk is why patients with this condition may be prescribed blood thinners.
Even though untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and is associated with a 5-fold increased risk for stroke, many patients are unaware that AFib is a serious condition.