aha acls 2019

AHA ACLS 2019: Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

What is atrial fibrillation? According to the American Heart Association, Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib or simply AF, is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). AFib can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. It is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. This abnormal firing of electrical impulses causes the atria, which are the top chambers of the heart, to quiver or fibrillate. At least two point seven million Americans lives with AFib.

Although untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths, many patients are unaware that AFib is a serious condition. AFib is also associated with a five times increase in risk of stroke.

The most common symptom of AFib is a quivering/fluttering heartbeat. Other symptoms include the following:

  1. General fatigue
  2. Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  3. Fluttering/thumping in the chest
  4. Dizziness
  5. Shortness of breath and anxiety
  6. Weakness
  7. Faintness or confusion
  8. Fatigue when exercising
  9. Sweating
  10. Chest pain/pressure

In some cases people with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms. Their condition is only detectable upon physical examination. aha acls 2019

Once a patient is diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the ideal goals are the following:

  1. Restoring the heart to a normal rhythm, also known as rhythm control.
  2. Reduction of an overly high heart rate, also known as rate control.
  3. Prevention of blood clots, prevention of thromboembolism such as stroke.
  4. Management of risk factors of stroke. aha acls 2019
  5. Prevention of additional heart rhythm problems.
  6. Prevention of heart failure.