What is atrial fibrillation? Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that originates from the upper left chamber of the heart. It can lead to devastating strokes and debilitating symptoms that can keep you in and out of the hospital for prolonged periods of time. It can also lead to death. Because of this, it's a very important arrhythmia to be diagnosed and treated.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in the United States today. It's estimated that roughly 2 to 6 million Americans live with atrial fibrillation. We also know that the incidence of atrial fibrillation increases with age, and as a result of that we see that more women have atrial fibrillation compared to men because women tend to live longer than men.
Tachycardia means rapid heartbeat. We know that normal heartbeat is when your pulse is between 60 and 100 and any rate above 100 is considered tachycardia. So atrial fibrillation falls under tachycardia because it can lead to fast heartbeats, but atrial fibrillation is not the only tachycardia diagnosis. There are many other abnormal heart rhythms that fall under the guise of tachycardia.
Most of our recent trials are showing more that getting patients into a normal sinus rhythm is extremely beneficial in terms of longterm mortality. And it's also showing that ablation therapy works very well and should actually be tried in especially young patients with atrial fibrillation or patients who have what we call paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, which is patients who haven't had atrial fibrillation for long periods of time. So normal sinus rhythm is best - we know that, and ablation therapy is turning out to be a better way of treating atrial fibrillation. So the most recent trial for atrial fibrillation called the cabana trial did a head-to-head comparison of atrial fibrillation ablation compared to medical management for atrial fibrillation. And overall, the trial shows that atrial fibrillation ablation works very well for patients with AFib.
In conclusion, atrial fibrillation is one of the most common arrhythmias here in the United States. It can actually cause a devastating stroke or debilitating symptoms that can lead to death. So it's very important to have that diagnosis made if you indeed have atrial fibrillation. So if you have any symptoms of atrial fibrillation, you should seek medical attention as soon as you can.
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