Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) is a term you've likely heard before. You may have even been told you live with A-Fib. What exactly is this common type of heart arrhythmia and what causes it?
A-fib can be understood as an erratic signal being sent from the sinoatrial (SA) node of the heart to the atrioventricular (AV) node. In a normal heart, this signal would cause a unified contraction of the atria but with the inconsistent signaling seen in A-Fib, the heart instead experiences atrial spasming.
A few factors contribute to the development of A-Fib including age, inflammation of the atrial tissue, atrial enlargement, hormonal abnormalities, and long-term alcohol abuse.
Because those with A-Fib are at higher risk of some health issues, like blood clots that can cause heart attacks or stroke, they may be prescribed anticoagulation medications by their healthcare providers.
The video above goes further in depth about this common cardiovascular diagnosis.
Sources: Khan Academy Medicine