A type of arrythmia due to electrical signal
distubances of the heart
The most common arrythmia affecting approx 200,000 Canadians (Heart and Stroke Foundation
of Canada, 2018).
Irregular atrial rhythm accompanied by
irregular ventricular rhythm of variable rate
(Copstead & Banasik, 2014).
- high blood pressure
- underlying heart disease
- heart failure
people with Afib are 3-5x higher of risk for
ischemic stroke. Studies show that
long-term use of Warfarin in pts with Afib
reduces the risk of stroke by 70-80% (Heart
and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2018).
On an EKG, atrial impulses appear as small, squiggly waves of
various sizes and shapes
Afib is sustained by multiple reentrant "wavelets"which change
countinuously in size and directions
Majority of atrial depolarizations are blocked at the AV node, few reach the ventricles to initiate
Atria quiver rather than contract forcefully --> allowing blood to become stagnant in the atria and the
possible formation of thrombi (Copstead & Bamasik, 2014).
A fib may be intermittent or sustained in the long term
Signs and Symptoms
Low blood pressure
Dizziness or fainting
Types of Afib
Temporary episodes which come and go. Each episode has a sudden
start and then the heart returns to a normal beat on its own within 24
hours wirh out medical assistance (jHeart and Stroke Foundation
Edisodes of Afib last longer than 7 days. Treatment is usually needed
(heart and Stroke Foundation Canada, 2014).
irregular heart rhythm lasts for < 1 year despite
medications or treatments. Some may not feel any
symptoms or require medications (Heart and Stroke
Foundation Canada, 2014).
- high blood pressure (most common)
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery bypass surgery
Myocarditis or pericarditis
Diseases that damage the values of the heart
Atrial septal defect
Heavy alcohol use
Age (more common in older people)
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes may be recommended by the doctor.
This may include the aim for a healthy weight, regular physical activity,
control of blood sugar, limiting alcohol, strategies to lower blood
pressure, stress management, smoking cessation (NIH, 2019).