What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance encountered by doctors. In one series, AF accounted for 34.5% of patients hospitalized with a cardiac rhythm disturbance. It has been estimated that 2.2 million Americans have paroxysmal or persistent AF.

It can affect adults of any age, but it is more common as people get older. In the over 65 year old age group, it affects about 10% of people. Atrial Fibrillation is not a life-threatening heart rhythm problem, but it can be troublesome and often requires treatment.

Atrial Fibrillation or AF occurs when chaotic electrical activity develops in the upper chambers or atria, and completely takes over from the sinus node. As a result, the atria no longer beat in an organized way, and pump less efficiently. The AV node will stop some of these very rapid impulses from travelling to the ventricles, but the ventricles will still beat irregularly and possibly rapidly.

Hear Bob’s experiences of having undetected AF, and learn why ‘Knowing Your Pulse’ is so important.

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