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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib; AF)

Overview

This is a problem with the rhythm of your heart. We call it "A-fib." With it, your heart beats much faster than normal. And, the upper and lower chambers of your heart don't work together like they should. For some, A-fib goes away on its own. But for others, it's a long-term problem.

Causes

What causes A-fib? It can happen because of a problem with your heart muscle. It can be caused by a problem with the electrical system that controls your heartbeat. It can be linked to things like aging, heart disease, or infection. It can also be linked to a genetic problem.

Symptoms

You can have A-fib and not have any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may experience irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. You may have low blood pressure and episodes of dizziness or fainting. You may only have your symptoms occasionally.

Complications

A-fib can allow blood to pool in your heart, causing blood clots to form. These clots can cause blockages in your blood vessels. A-fib can lead to serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis, stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Treatment

A-fib is treated with lifestyle changes, medicines, procedures and surgery. Your healthcare provider will create a plan that's right for you.