Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of arrhythmia, or irregular heart rate. It occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat too quickly and too irregularly. This can cause blood to pool in the atria instead of going to the rest of the body.
The most common symptom of atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat. It may be very fast or slow, or it may skip beats. This can lead to a feeling of skipped heartbeats (palpitations), shortness of breath, dizziness and chest pain.
You're at higher risk of atrial fibrillation if you have certain conditions. These include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, or alcohol abuse.
Atrial fibrillation is usually treatable with medication. The doctor may prescribe a class of drugs called antiarrhythmics to control the heart rate. These medications can help keep your heart rate regular.
Surgery is also a possible treatment for atrial fibrillation. Common procedures include catheter ablation and open-heart surgery. If other treatments aren't working or the patient can't undergo them due to other conditions, these procedures can help save lives.
In this video, Dr Reginald Liew elaborates on atrial fibrillation and treatment options available today.