What Are the Symptoms and Treatment Options for AFib?

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations, irregular pulse, shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue, according to WebMD. Other symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, confusion and fainting.

Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat, called arrhythmia, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It occurs when electrical signals in the heart cause the upper chambers to fibrillate, resulting in the heart beating too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. As this happens, the upper and lower chambers of the heart do not work in synch as expected.

Atrial fibrillation is generally caused by some kind of damage or irregularity to the heart’s composition, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects, lung disease and prior heart surgery, explains Mayo Clinic. Some patients with the condition have no heart abnormalities at all. Known as lone atrial fibrillation, the cause is generally unknown and patients generally do not suffer from significant complications.

Treatment options for atrial fibrillation depend on the cause of the condition and severity of the symptoms, notes Mayo Clinic. The objective is to reset the heart’s rhythm, prevent clotting, and maintain normal function and control via medication, electrical cardioversion or invasive treatment, such as surgery or the use of catheters.