1. What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation? Why do some people not feel it at all?
2. The typical Afib symptoms
3. Different types of Afib
4. How do you know if you have Afib?
5. Ambulatory ECG monitor recommendation
6. What is the treatment for Afib
Recently, Dr. Petar used Wellue AI ECG to check his father’s ECG at home and shared his case with us. Click to read the full review. The reason for his ECG test was that his father had an episode of what appeared to be a TIA and atrial fibrillation had to be ruled out as the cause.
What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation? Why do some people not feel it at all?
Most patients with atrial fibrillation have a fast and irregular ventricular beat. They often feel panic. As fast ventricular beats will lead to a drop in blood pressure, patients will feel dizzy and can even faint. And long-term fast heartbeats can cause heart failure, so patients will have difficulty breathing.
Some patients are not sensitive to irregular heartbeat and often have no symptoms, which can be missed for a long time. Some of them are found during physical examination, such as atrial fibrillation found in the ECG of physical examination after the occurrence of stroke. Or some patients are found to have atrial fibrillation after the occurrence of thromboembolism, such as atrial fibrillation found in the ECG of the hospital examination after lower-extremity arterial thrombosis. Therefore, the symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common clinical arrhythmias. The atria lose their normal effective contraction and are in a state of rapid and disordered fibrillation, with a frequency that can be as fast as 300-600 beats per minute, and a rapid and irregular ventricular beat that can reach 100-200 beats per minute.
In a normal person, the contraction of the atria is a uniform and consistent contraction, similar to the perfect drumming performance, where each drummer is methodically beating the drum in rhythm to produce a strong and powerful sound. However, if the performers are not in the same rhythm, the scene will only be noisy.
Atrial fibrillation can be described as that the heart beating irregularly, similar to the terrible drumming performance. Everyone no longer obeys the command; the heart does not follow the normal rhythm to contract, becoming fast and irregular. The drums are at best a failure, but if the heart is beating irregularly, the situation is bad.
The typical Afib symptoms
Shortness of breath
Dizziness, or even blackness and fainting in severe cases
A drop in blood pressure
Some patients can have no obvious conscious symptoms when atrial fibrillation attacks.
Different types of Afib
The type of AFib varies from the episodes of AFib and its response to treatment.
1. Classification according to the duration of AF episodes
Paroxysmal AFib: Episodes of atrial fibrillation lasting less than 7 days, mostly within 48 hours. It can be converted to sinus rhythm on its own.
Persistent AFib: Episodes of atrial fibrillation lasting more than 7 days. It requires medications or electric shocks to return to sinus rhythm.
Permanent AFib: An episode that cannot be terminated on its own or it is terminated and then recurs.
2. Classification according to the etiology of atrial fibrillation
Valvular AFib: Atrial fibrillation caused by rheumatic heart valve disease, heart valve replacement, or valvuloplasty.
Nonvalvular AFib: Atrial fibrillation not caused by rheumatic heart valve disease, mechanical or biological valve replacement, or valvuloplasty. Atrial fibrillation is considered idiopathic or isolated when the age of onset is less than 60 years and there is no clinical or echocardiographic evidence of cardiopulmonary disease.
How do you know if you have Afib?
The symptoms of atrial fibrillation are extremely atypical, so you can’t wait until a blood clot forms before you come to the doctor. Then how do you confirm the diagnosis? It is very simple. When you often feel panic and chest discomfort, you need to have an ECG (electrocardiogram). It’s convenient and inexpensive. Don’t underestimate the sky-like electrocardiogram. After the doctor’s analysis, you can find a lot of problems from the ECG.
However, some atrial fibrillation is paroxysmal, which means that it is not constant and the results of a single ECG may be normal. At this point, your doctor will decide whether an ambulatory ECG is necessary for further testing based on your specific situation.
Ambulatory ECG monitor recommendation
Wellue 24-hour ECG Recorder with AI Analysis can detect AFib.
Routine portable single-lead EKG monitor is hard to detect heart problems for a few moments checking. A Holter monitor can continuously track your heart activity, but it is so bulky to wear as it has many wires.
On the contrary, Wellue® ECG Recorder is not only portable but can also continuously monitor ECG/EKG for 24 hours. In addition, Wellue’s FDA-Proved AI ECG platform, which can intelligently diagnose various kinds of abnormal ECG/EKG events, is provided to generate ECG analysis.
Up to 24 hours Holter
Provide professional medical ECG report
Get free AI analysis and diagnosis for clinical use
Simple operation with one-touch
Two wearing modes with chest strap or electrodes
Support data saved as PDF AI ECG report and emailed to your doctor
What is the treatment for Afib
Restore the Normal Heart Rhythm
The fibrillating atria must be allowed to beat according to a normal rhythm. You cannot let the fibrillation go on in a disorderly manner but must follow the unified command of the “commander”, which is called the sinus node in medical terms. A normal and regular heart rhythm is called sinus rhythm. Medications such as amiodarone can be taken to restore sinus rhythm.
Slowing the Heart Rate
The heart rate has to be slowed down. Medications such as propranolol can be taken to slow the heart rate.
Preventing Blood Clots
It is critical to prevent thrombosis. Because many patients with atrial fibrillation will have severe cerebral apoplexy and thromboembolism in the future. Thus all patients with atrial fibrillation should be treated with anticoagulation and may take long-term aspirin to prevent thrombosis. That’s why aunt Lala needs to take aspirin every day. In addition, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, it is possible that other types of medications (e.g., warfarin) may be required for anticoagulants. This will need to be evaluated in detail by a cardiologist.