Heart & Vascular:

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)


Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans live with 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.

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Therapies

To learn about atrial fibrillation diagnosis, treatment, and therapies, please visit the Arrthymia Center.