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How Dangerous is Atrial Fibrillation?

by Micheal Danye

Atrial fibrillation (AF), or atrial fibrillation, is one of the most common rhythm disturbances. It is more common in older people than in young people.

What is atrial fibrillation?

With atrial fibrillation (atrial fibrillation), the electrical impulse moves through the atria chaotically, instead of a “friendly” contraction, the atria tremble, “flicker”. Due to the fact that the muscle fibers of the atria contract at different times, there is no single contraction and ejection of blood into the ventricles.

Since the atria begin to contract not only chaotically, but also very often, the atrioventricular node passes far from all contractions to the ventricles, an equal period of time is not observed. Therefore, when you try to count your heart rate, the intervals between beats will be different and your heart rate will be “uneven”.

Please also note that the pulse has become different in filling – one contraction is stronger, while the other can barely be detected under the fingers. The reason for this is the disorganized work of the heart. What are the complications of atrial fibrillation?

Even if the doctor’s recommendations are followed, the risk of developing negative health consequences for patients with such a diagnosis is very high.

Complications arising against the background of changes in atrial rhythm include the following diseases:

Heart failure: Life expectancy for the acute form is estimated to be about 5 years. Patients with heart defects and impaired ventricular contractility are susceptible to this complication.

Pulmonary embolism: In case of acute blockage of the vessel with a thrombus, the patient needs emergency medical care, otherwise he will face death from suffocation within 1 hour. The life prognosis in most cases does not exceed 1 year, but in mild forms of arrhythmia, it can be increased to 4 years. Thromboembolism occurs more often in elderly patients with heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus.

Dilated cardiomyopathy of arrhythmic type: With this diagnosis, in combination with atrial fibrillation, patients live no longer than 1-7 years.

Ischemia and heart attack: If the patient observes all the doctor’s recommendations, his life expectancy increases to 10-20 years.

Stroke: Frequent seizures cause a blood clot to form in the atria, which can travel to the blood vessels in the brain. This phenomenon provokes the development of a stroke. With a combination of two pathologies, people live for about 5-10 years.

The most dangerous complication with a poor prognosis is the blockage of the intracardiac openings. With such a diagnosis, the patient is expected to die.

The indicated lifetimes are approximate. The prognosis depends on the form of pathology, timely diagnosis, and the rate of development of complications, the method of therapy, the patient’s age and compliance with the rules in terms of lifestyle changes. Many patients manage to avoid such problems and live much longer than the predicted period.

Atrial fibrillation is a serious disorder in the work of the heart, the particular danger of which is its complications. Their development can be prevented by many patients, provided that the correct lifestyle is followed after treatment.

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