Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in the US population. AF occurs when rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart) to “fibrillate”, or contract quickly and irregularly. This in turn causes some blood to pool in the atria rather than be pumped completely into the ventricles. AF can be asymptomatic but it may also be associated with several bothersome symptoms, including shortness of breath, difficulty with exercise, palpitations, general fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.
Interventions of interest:
- Antiarrhythmic drugs (amiodarone, dronedarone)
- Catheter ablation
- Surgical ablation
Date of review: June 2011
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