Auricular fibrillation; A-fib
Definition of Atrial fibrillation/flutter
Atrial fibrillation/flutter is a heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). It usually involves a rapid heart rate that is not regular.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
are caused by problems with the heart’s normal electrical conduction system.
You may not be aware that your heart is not beating in a normal pattern, especially if it has been occurring for some time.
Signs and tests
The health care provider may hear a fast heartbeat while listening to the heart with a stethoscope. The pulse may feel rapid, irregular, or both. The normal heart rate is 60 – 100, but in atrial fibrillation/flutter the heart rate may be 100 – 175. may be normal or low.
In certain cases, atrial fibrillation may need emergency treatment to get the heart back into normal rhythm. This treatment may involve electrical or intravenous (IV) drugs such as dofetilide, amiodarone, or ibutilide. Drugs are typically needed to keep the pulse from being too fast.
The disorder is usually controllable with treatment. Many people with atrial fibrillation do very well.
Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/9/2010