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New Member Question Here: What is AFIB?

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  • New Member Question Here: What is AFIB?

    Hello,

    I've seen people mention afib. Can someone please tell me what this is?

    Thanks


    Theo
    26 years old, diagnosed April 2005. ICD July 2005.

  • #2
    Atrial Fibrillation

    A type of arrythmia that occurs when the top chambers of the heart beat very fast and chaotically which can cause blood clots to form in the heart which can be sent out into the bloodstream and cause a stroke. People who experience a fib for any length of time are typically put on blood thinners so that they will not have a stroke.
    Daughter of Father with HCM
    Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
    Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
    ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
    Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.

    Comment


    • #3
      A-fib basically occurs when the top chambers (left and right atrium) of the heart go into a disorganized and very rapid electrical rhythm. The atria quiver (between 300-500 bpm), rather than beat normally (60-80 beats per minute). In the process, this causes the ventricles to also beat irregulaly and fast. The end result is a highly irregular, fast heart beat.

      In normal people (and even a few with HCM), this causes only minor discomfort and symptoms. But with many people with HCM, a-fib can really undermine the heart's function, even leading to heart failure in extreme cases. Blood cannot be pumped efficiently in these cases.

      My electrophysiologist stated that a-fib is actually a 'marker of advanced disease'in HCM, whatever that means. However, I think I am right in saying that most people who go to 'burnout' stage have a-fib at some point.

      There are many theories as to what triggers a-fib. In people with HCM, diastolic dysfunction in the left ventricle (caused by hypertrophy) causes blood to back up into the left atrium. This in turn stretches the atrium and causes it to enlarge. In the process, this stretching messes up the normal electical current which causes are heart to beat.

      I never had a-fib until 13 weeks ago when I had a myectomy. Two doctors, including the electrophysiologist mentioned above have stated that I will have it again and that this is a bad sign. My surgeon, however, reckons my a-fib is just a post-op problem and will go away. Who knows??? I'm surrounded by doctors who don't really have a clue about HCM.

      I was also never told a-fib could be a side effect of surgery. If I had known that and how bad it is I may never have gone ahead with the surgery. I was just not informed that a-fib would be a risk.

      On the positive side, I am currently in normal heart rhythm. And who knows, like my surgeon said, I may never get it again. The myectomy may even end up getting rid of most of my symptoms. To keep me there, however, I have to take Amiodarone, which is the most toxic drug in medicine (or so I've read).

      Take care. Hope you never get a-fib.

      Cheers,

      Paul
      Age 38, dad of two young children, dx 1996, myectomy March 2005, a-fib issues, due for ICD soon.

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