Data from Laura Quittenden - Curated by Marshall Pearce - Last updated 30 November 2017
FOR YOUR PATIENT
Atrial Fibrillation (also called AF or AFib) is the most common heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke, blood clots, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Over 1 million people have been diagnosed with AF in the UK alone.
What causes Atrial Fibrillation?
- High blood pressure
- Heart valve disease
- Excess alcohol consumption
What are the symptoms of AF?
A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute whilst resting. In atrial fibrillation, the heart rate is irregular and can sometimes be very fast. In some cases, it can be higher than 100 beats a minute.
- Palpitations (being aware of your heart beat)
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Shortness of breath
- However, some people only have some mild symptoms, while other people experience no symptoms at all.
Treating Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation isn’t usually life threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and often requires treatment.
- Medication to prevent a stroke (people with AF are more at risk of having a stroke)
- Medication to control the heart rate or rhythm
- Cardioversion – where the heart is given a controlled electric shock to restore normal rhythCatheter ablation – where the area inside the heart that’s causing the abnormal heart rhythm is destroyed using radio frequency energy.
Did you know...
Acoording to the Arrhythmia Alliance:
- One in four people will develop AF; it affects an estimated 1.5 million across the UK and in excess of 16 million worldwide.
- AF can be detected cheaply and easily with a simple manual pulse check
- Every 15 seconds someone suffers an AF-related stroke, yet most can be prevented using appropriate anticoagulation therapy
- AF, and AF related illness, costs the NHS over £2.2 billion each year
Detect | AF with a simple pulse check
Protect | against AF-related stroke using anticoagulation therapy
Correct | the irregular rhythm with access to appropriate treatment
Perfect | the patient care pathway
Acute & Advanced Heart Failure Knowledge Centre