What Causes Atrial Fibrillation?


Quick Answer

Mayo Clinic states that atrial fibrillation can be caused by high blood pressure, myocardial infarctions, abnormal heart valves, congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease or other conditions that affect the heart and lungs. Some people have atrial fibrillation with no clear underlying cause, often referred to as lone atrial fibrillation.

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What Causes Atrial Fibrillation?
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Full Answer

Atrial fibrillation occurs when the heart receives irregular electrical impulses, causing it to beat quickly and erratically, according to Mayo Clinic. This leads to a resting heartbeat that ranges from 100 to 175 beats per minute, whereas a normal heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute. The condition can lead to strokes or other lasting damage if untreated, but has a good prognosis with treatment.

Although atrial fibrillation does not cause signs and symptoms in all cases, signs and symptoms include palpitations, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and chest pain. Patients may also have lessened exercise ability, shortness of breath, confusion and body weakness. Since atrial fibrillation may result from a serious condition such as a heart attack, it is important to seek immediate medical care when the symptoms appear to ensure early diagnosis and treatment and to avoid possible complications such as heart failure and stroke.

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