Heart out of rhythm: atrial fibrillation

Heart out of rhythm: atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmias. The heart beats irregularly. Without therapy threaten serious consequences, such as a stroke. How the atrial fibrillation manifests itself, which treatment methods there are and what the patient can do himself, is the subject of the service hour. Treatment methods for patients with atrial fibrillation Atrial fibrillation, with

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmias. The heart beats irregularly. Without therapy threaten serious consequences, such as a stroke. How the atrial fibrillation manifests itself, which treatment methods there are and what the patient can do himself, is the subject of the service hour.

Atrial fibrillation, with over 1.8 million people affected in Germany, is a serious cardiac arrhythmia that can go unnoticed and life-threatening right up to heart failure and stroke. To date, the doctors have no conclusive explanation for the stumbling of the heart muscle. They suspect that there is not just one, but different causes.

Atrial fibrillation is often not noticed. Shortness of breath during exercise or poor performance are attributed to other diseases. An acute attack manifests itself with sudden onset of heart stumbling, pressure in the chest, anxiety, dizziness and shortness of breath. Some patients worry about having a heart attack.

Often the atrial fibrillation stops suddenly after several hours and the patient realizes that he is better immediately. In the following weeks and months, patients are at increased risk of atrial fibrillation recurrence. Since the atrial fibrillation no longer contracts effectively in atrial fibrillation, clots can form in the left atrial appendage. If such a clot enters the cerebral circulation, it can clog a blood vessel and cause a stroke.

The frequency increases significantly with age. The important distinction between harmless extra bouts (extrasystoles) and atrial fibrillation can only be clarified by a physician by ECG.

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Atrial fibrillation and heart failure often associated

The main causes of atrial fibrillation are z. As high blood pressure, circulatory disorders of the coronary arteries, myocardial insufficiency, diabetes mellitus and lung, kidney or thyroid diseases. These diseases need to be treated – a medical treatment for the atrial fibrillation itself is not enough to treat the dangerous cardiac arrhythmia.

Atrial fibrillation and heart failure are often interconnected. Up to 30 percent of patients with heart failure also suffer from atrial fibrillation. The more severe the heart failure, the higher the likelihood of getting atrial fibrillation.

Treatment methods for patients with atrial fibrillation

One can differentiate the medicamentous therapy, the ablation treatment and the therapy with the help of implantable devices like pacemakers or defibrillators. The order of the measures is decided by the doctor in close consultation with the patient. The first and most important measure is always taking blood-thinning medication. This is to prevent the formation of blood clots.

An ablation is an intervention on the beating heart. The surgeons use the catheter to reach the heart with a catheter. There, under high heat – usually by means of high-frequency current – pathological areas in the heart muscle tissue become desolate. If the treatment is successful, the patient is cured.

What can the patient do himself?

Smoking, alcohol, caffeine, stress, lack of sleep, and greasy / rich foods can all be factors that can be detrimental to the heart, causing or aggravating atrial fibrillation. Helpful is therefore a critical view of your own (unhealthy) lifestyle.

  • Regular endurance oriented exercise (eg running or swimming)
  • Healthy eating
  • Refrain from smoking
  • Reduce excess weight
  • Restrict alcohol consumption
  • Reduce stress (relaxation techniques, yoga)
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