Doctor insights on:
Is Atrial Fibrillation Fatal
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness ...Read more
See below.: The most important effect of atrial fibrillation is the risk of clots arising in the atrium and causing a stroke when the clot leaves the atrium and lands in the brain. Patients with atrial fib may have decreased exercise tolerance and shortness of breath due exaggerated heart rate response. Patients may have fatigue due to decreased cardiac output. The feeling of palpitations may cause anxiety. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Not usually: Atrial fibrillation may be a consequence of structural abnormalities of the heart, which can indeed be serious. However, if the rhythm disturbance is the only abnormality then it can usually be controlled sufficiently that the patient can be free of symptoms. In older patients with af there is significant risk of stroke, but this too can be mitigated by treatment to reduce blood clots. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Ventricular fib: Vf is worse; it usually causes cardiac arrest which is often fatal. Atrial fibrillation, while not as severe, also has significant health risks. It increases the risk of stroke, which can be disabling or fatal. Additionally, if the af causes a fast pulse for a prolonged period of time, this may lead to weakening of the heart and cause heart failure. ...Read moreSee 2 more doctor answers
It depends: Ventricular fibrillation is from the bottom chamber; vf is worse; it usually causes cardiac arrest which is often fatal. Atrial fibrillation - from the top chamber- while not as severe, also has significant health risks. It increases the risk of stroke, which can be disabling or fatal. ...Read more
What makes atrial fibrillation not immediately life threatening while ventricular fibrillation is?
A circuit breaker: The rhythms in the top chamber during atrial fibrillation can reach and exceed 600 bpm. If this were conducted directly to the lower chamber, it would be as fatal as ventricular fibrillation. However, nature built in a circuit breaker called the av node between the two such that only some of the top chamber heartbeats in fibrillation make it to the bottom chamber. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
WPW: Wpw is a syndrome with bypass tracts that make rapid heart action possible. Atrial fibrillation is a rapid disordered heart rhythm that is fairly common. When associated with WPW it can be fatal because of too fast conduction of impulses. They are different conditions but when they happen together tragedy can result. ...Read more
Medications: There are a variety of medications which can either control the heart rate or convert the rhythm back to normal. Sometimes cardioversion is used to correct the heart rhythm. Also in some cases ablation can be done which will correct the abnormal rhythm. ...Read moreSee 2 more doctor answers
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