Takeaways from the Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Live Chat

afib-email260x200Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is the most common irregular heart rhythm in the United States, affecting over two million Americans. We hosted a live chat on Tuesday, November 15th at 12pm EST about atrial fibrillation with Mikhael El-Chami, MD, of the Emory Heart and Vascular Center where we received a lot of great questions about symptoms, treatments, and more.

Dr. El-Chami was able to answer these questions and provide insight on this condition that affects so many people. Below are some highlights from this live chat.


Question: Are there different types of a-fib? Is one more serious than another?

Dr. El-Chami: There are typically two different types of a-fib. The first type is persistent a-fib (always in a state of a-fib) and the other type paroxysmal a-fib (a-fib that comes and goes). One type is not more dangerous than the other. The most devastating complication of a-fib is related to the predisposition to stroke. If that is treated appropriately with blood thinners, then the risk is reduced significantly. At times, a-fib is also associated with weakening of the heart muscle, and if that is the case physicians are usually very aggressive at trying to keep patients out of a-fib.


Question: What are some risk factors for a-fib?

Dr. El-Chami: That is a very good question. Common risk factors for a-fib include hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, aging and structural heart disease (patients with valve problems, weak heart muscle or thick heart muscle). A-fib could occur in a younger patient without major health issues, but this is not the norm.


Question: Am I more likely to have a stroke if I have a-fib?

Dr. El-Chami: A-fib is typically associated with a 5 fold increase in the risk of stroke. There is a clinical scoring system (CHADSVaSC score) that will better determine the risk of stroke in patients that have a-fib.


Thank you to everyone who participated in our live chat! You can view the full chat transcript here.

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