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Doctor insights on: Atrial Fibrillation And Shortness Of Breath

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Dr. John Garner
1,821 doctors shared insights

Atrial Fibrillation (Definition)

A heart condition, in which the electrical activity of the heart is abnormal. This abnormal electrical signal causes the heart muscle to contract when it is not supposed to and thus blood is ...Read more


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Having atrial fibrillation , I do not feel fast heart beat or shortness of breath , due to medication. Would air travel for 6 hours be a problem?

Having atrial fibrillation , I do not feel fast heart beat or shortness of breath , due to medication. Would air travel for 6 hours be a problem?

C Below: You have asymptomatic Afib. Depending on your CHADS2 Score or CHADSVASC you should be at least on Aspirin. My guess is that you likely should be on Warfarin also. - Air travel is as safe as staying at home watching a TV Show. What is important is your antiplatelt therapy or anticoagulation as needed. ...Read more

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Been to two heart doctors and all test are normal, but still have chest pain, lightheaded, and shortness of breath! is this atrial fibrillation?

Been to two heart doctors and all test are normal, but still have chest pain, lightheaded, and shortness of breath! is this atrial fibrillation?

Maybe ...: Chronic Atrial fibrillation is not likely to be missed on even a routine ECG. A comprehensive history is not likely to miss it either. However, if your symptoms are episodic and you weren't having the symptoms while you were being tested, it is POSSIBLE that episodic atrial fibrillation or other Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardias (PSVT) could cause those symptoms. ...Read more

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The patient i'm caring for has rapid atrial fibrillation and dyspnea-- why is she being prescribed heparin?

The patient i'm caring for has rapid atrial fibrillation and dyspnea-- why is she being prescribed heparin?

Afib and Heparin: Afib is a dis-coordinated, chaotic heart rhythm where the heart can not effectively move blood the way it should. When blood sits stagnant it can clot. The Heparin helps prevent the stagnant blood from clotting to avoid a clot , or "thrombus", being sent to the brain or lungs where it may cause a stroke or pe. ...Read more

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Sometimes I feel just slightly out of breath for no reason. Could this be atrial fibrillation?

Sometimes I feel just slightly out of breath for no reason. Could this be atrial fibrillation?

Possibly.: Possibly. You can check your pulse during these episodes and see if it is irregular, which may be a clue the shortness of breath is coming from some heart arrhythmia. To make the diagnosis officially, some recording of the heart rhythm needs to be made. This can be via 12-lead ekg, 24-hr holter monitor, or 30-day loop monitor. ...Read more

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Is atrial fibrillation hereditary?

Is atrial fibrillation hereditary?

No: Congenital heart problems can be inherited and this can lead to afib. But afib itself is not. ...Read more

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Is atrial fibrillation a disability?

Is atrial fibrillation a disability?

It can be: If afib is difficult to treat ie unable to convert patient to normal rythm or unable to slow rate down with medicines, or perhapse the patient can't tolerate the medications to treat the problem , a person can be disabled. Pts with pre existing heart problems may not tolerate afib as well. Ablation therapy is not always effective and some patients may need a pacemaker. Just depends on pt ...Read more

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Why is atrial fibrillation dangerous?

Why is atrial fibrillation dangerous?

Causes strokes: Atrial fibrillation causes stagnation of blood in the atrium contributing to the formation of clots there which may travel to the brain causing a stroke or cva or sudden death. ...Read more

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Can an atrial fibrillation be lethal?

Only if…: Only if the atrial rate is conducted in a very rapid fashion to the lower chamber. Your heart has built-in protection to keep this from happening. However, patients with a condition known as wolff parkinson white sometimes lack this protection and under the right circumstances can die as a result of atrial fibrillation. ...Read more

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How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?

How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?

EKG /Physical exam: Different ways. Listening to the heart there is obvious irregular rhythm with irregular rate. The electrocardiogram is diagnostic. Some times atrial fibrillation may appeared transiently or paroxystically. A holter monitor or cardiac monitor could show the characteristic features of the EKG changes. ...Read more

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What does atrial fibrillation feel like?

It depends on: A number of factors. Most people will feel an irregular and skipping or racing sensation in their chest. If the heart rate is too fast or the heart is very weak, you may feel short of breath, weak or even chest pressure. Many people have atrial fibrillation with no obvious symptoms. ...Read more

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Is atrial fibrillation dangerous to have?

It can be : Increased stroke risk is the major consideration here. Talk to your cardiologist about what yours is & whether you should be on blood thinners or just Aspirin (for lower risk patients). ...Read more

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What is atrial fibrillation a symptom of?

What is atrial fibrillation a symptom of?

It depends: Atrial fibrillation is an irregular rhythm in which the atria beat at nearly 400 beats/min. It is common in older patients as a reflection of aging of the conduction system. In younger patients it can be caused by alcohol and drug abuse. It can also occur when the heart dilates as in congestive heart failure. The abnormal contractions put patients at risk for blood clots which may cause strokes. ...Read more

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What is the effect of atrial fibrillation?

What is the effect of atrial fibrillation?

Heart rate / stroke: Two issues with afib. The first is stroke. Afib is a risk for stroke, and thus all patients with afib need some sort of blood thinner. Whether that is an Aspirin or full anticoagulants such as Coumadin (warfarin) depends on your risks and your doctor will let you know that. The second is heart rate. If the afib is too fast or too slow, the rate will need to be treated also. ...Read more

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How is atrial fibrillation usually treated?

How is atrial fibrillation usually treated?

Slow down the heart: Beta blockers and digoxin are often used first to slow down the heart when there is rapid heart rate of af. In some patients, electric shocks can be utilized to convert the irregular rate of af to normal. In most all cases, blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) and new drugs like Pradaxa are utilized to reduce the risk of blood clots forming inside the heart and causing complications such as strokes. ...Read more

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What are the tests for atrial fibrillation?

Electrocardiogram: If the atrial fibrillation is ongoing then an electrocardiogram will show it. If it only occurs from time to time, then there are different types of monitors that a patient can use at home to record the heart rhythm; this is another type of electrocardiogram sometimes referred to as an event recorder. ...Read more

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What sort of problem is atrial fibrillation?

Irregular: Atrial fibrillation occurs when the atria, which deliver blood to the ventricles, receive an abnormal electrical signal and then beat erratically instead of in a coordinated, strong beat. The danger of atrial fibrillation is that the blood in the atria tends to stay there instead of getting pumped fully into the ventricles. This slow moving blood in the atria can then form blood clots. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

Maybe: Atrial fib presents differently in everybody. Sometimes it can be completely asymptomatic. Other times it can be flutters in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness, to name a few. ...Read more

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Dr. Luis Villaplana
835 doctors shared insights

Shortness Of Breath (Definition)

Breathlessness is the sensation of not being able to catch one's breath. It may be seen in asthma, heart failure, ...Read more


Fibrillation (Definition)

Fibrillation is the rapid, irregular, and unsynchronized contraction of muscle fibers. An important occurrence is with ...Read more