Atrial Fibrillation

What Is Atrial Fibrillation​?

Atrial fibrillation (also referred to as A-Fib, palpitations or heart flutters) is a sensory symptom, often described as an unpleasant awareness of the forceful, rapid, or irregular beating of the heart. Patients often describe the sensation as a rapid fluttering in the chest, flip-flopping in the chest or a pounding sensation in the chest or neck.

What Are The Causes Of Heart Flutters?

There are many causes of palpitations. The most common ones arise from problems of the heart. Certain medications and recreational drugs, as well as some medical conditions like pregnancy, fever, anemia, hyper or hypothyroid, high stress, or strenuous exercise can all be causes of palpitations.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A-Fib?

Typically, patients describe the sensation as a rapid fluttering in the chest, flip-flopping in the chest, or a pounding sensation in the chest or neck.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Heart Palpitations?

Smoking, Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, Coronary and Valvular Heart Disease, Hypertension, Obesity, Hyperthyroidism, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea can all increase your risk of palpitations.

How Are Heart Palpitations Diagnosed?

Atrial Fibrillation is diagnosed with an EKG or electrocardiogram, an event monitor, and an echo-cardiogram. This measures the electrical activity of the heart and visualizes the heart via sonogram technology.

What Are The Possible Treatments For Atrial Fibrillation?

There are medical and interventional therapies that help treat Atrial Fibrillation and its associated complications. Blood thinners prevent embolic stroke, which is a major and fatal complication of A-Fib. Medication like Beta-blockers can help regulate heart rhythms. There are now procedures called ablations that can permanently terminate atrial fibrillation. There are also devices called left atrial appendage occluding devices that can reduce the risk of stroke.

Are There Preventative Steps To Avoid Heart Flutters?

There is unfortunately not one definitive preventative measure regarding A-Fib. However, minimizing the risk factors mentioned above and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help decrease the risk of Atrial Fibrillation.

What Are The Risks If A-Fib Is Left Untreated?

Heart failure, stroke, and acute limb ischemia (a serious condition involving rapid loss of bloodflow to the lower part of the limb) are the most common risks if left untreated. Which can lead to high mortality.

Are There Other Related Conditions?

Other related conditions are Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, Coronary and Valvular Heart Disease, Hypertension, Obesity, Hyperthyroidism.

Key Takeaways

Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to stroke if left untreated. This is the result of blood stasis which can lead to clot formation. During palpitations, the clot could potentially break off and cause an embolic stroke. Blood thinning medication therapy is available to help prevent a stroke.

Recommended Next Steps

Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to stroke if left untreated. This is the result of blood stasis which can lead to clot formation. During palpitations, the clot could potentially break off and cause an embolic stroke. Blood thinning medication therapy is available to help prevent a stroke.

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