What Does Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB) Mean?
Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart beat. Atrial fibrillation (AF) occurs when the electrical signals that control the heart's beating malfunction.
The beating of the heart is controlled by electrical signals that begin in the upper right chamber of the heart and then passes to the left. When the heart contracts rapidly and irregularly, it is said to fibrillate. Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFIB) is so named because the electrical malfunction that triggers AFIB's irregular heart beat originates in the atria or upper chambers of the heart.
Atrial fibrillation does not always cause symptoms. Some symptoms that a person may experience during AF are palpitations or a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, or physical weakness.
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is usually performed to confirm suspected atrial fibrillation. Treatments following diagnosis may include medication or physical interventions to restore a regular heart rhythm. Untreated, the condition can increase a person's risk of stroke, heart attack, or heart failure.
Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia. The condition is sometimes referred to as AFIB, a shortening of the full name.