Atrial fibrillation

Pounding heart.  Photo from www.sciencephoto.com

Sometimes, the "heart beating in my chest like a bird" or "shaking like an autumn leaf." And sometimes "it is clogged, it will freeze." In the language of medicine this is called cardiac arrhythmia. Contraction of the heart become irregular, incorrect. Arrhythmias are different, but one of the most common — atrial.

We know that every time a heartbeat is a sequential reduction of its divisions — first the atria and then the ventricles. Only such an alternation provides effective functioning of the heart. When an arrhythmia, which received a beautiful name "atrial" lost one of the phases of the cardiac cycle — namely, the atria. Their muscle fibers lose their ability to work in sync. As a result, the atria only randomly twitch — shimmer. From this and the ventricles begin to contract spasmodically.

Why there is atrial fibrillation?

There are many reasons that can cause this disease. For example, various diseases of the heart: some heart defects, infection of the heart and heart failure, coronary heart disease (CHD) and its threatening complication — a myocardial infarction.

It is often triggered by an attack of atrial fibrillation, use of a larger-than-normal amounts of alcohol. There is even such a thing — "cardiac arrhythmia holidays." On any given day you can expect to see arrhythmias in people with thyroid disease (especially with its redundant function) and some other hormonal disorders.

Most arrhythmia develops after surgery, stroke, various stresses. It may provoke the development of some medicines. For example, taking diuretics to lose weight often causes "of the doctor himself" in a hospital bed. The risk of atrial fibrillation in people with diabetes, especially if diabetes combined with obesity and high blood pressure. Genetic predisposition is also important. However, doctors do not always possible to determine the cause of the arrhythmia.

How to find out about the beginning of the disease? On it indicates, for example, heart rate, when heart so pounding that seems about jump out of my chest, and the man himself often feels that the heart does not beat rhythmically. But it often goes unnoticed arrhythmia. Only s pulse, you can install irregular heartbeat. Often the disease is detected only during regular medical examinations on ECG. But there is worse: the first manifestations of the disease are complications.

What do dangerous atrial fibrillation?

Often, it is accompanied by tachycardia, that is, an increase in heart rate. In this case, at the heart of an enormous burden falls. The result may appear chest pain — angina or myocardial infarction. Because of arrhythmias may decrease the efficiency of the heart. This will lead to other complications — heart failure.

Can arrhythmia resolve itself?

In principle,. However, if arrhythmia persists for several hours or develop complications, you should immediately seek medical help. However, even if the arrhythmia disappeared by itself, should not be put off a visit to the doctor. Repeated violation of rhythm can occur at any time and ended tragically. Therefore, the self-medication of little help.

In the words of a good song, "How much heart validolom not heal, it is still continuous interruptions. " The fact that the restoration of normal rhythm is best carried out in the first day from the onset of arrhythmia. You can eliminate the arrhythmia and after this period, but then require additional training. With atrial fibrillation, the atria when normally do not cancel, they dramatically slows blood flow, and therefore formed blood clots — clots. This occurs on the second day after the onset of arrhythmia. When the normal rhythm recover and atrium will decline, fragments of blood clots can break off and clog the blood vessels a authority. Usually, blood clots, "swim" in the blood vessels of the brain. This leads to a stroke.

That is why everyone who went to the doctor more than 24-48 hours after the onset of arrhythmias, prescribe medications that slow blood clotting. Only when the effect is obtained, approximately 1-2 Time may restore rhythm.

As a normal heart rhythm is restored?

The most common is recovery heart rate with drugs. These are called anti-arrhythmic drugs. Typically, recovery rate, it is administered intravenously. However, in some cases, the patient himself can take a pill previously chosen a drug that stops his attack of atrial fibrillation. Unfortunately, there are no special features, allowing to determine which drugs will be more effective. In practice one has to sort out several medications before you can pick up a drug is most appropriate individual patient.

In some cases, when an attack of atrial fibrillation can not be treated with drugs or there is a direct threat to the life of the patient, recovery rate used so-called electrical cardioversion. Sick for a short time (1-2 min) goes to sleep, then a special synchronized (ie applied in a phase of the cardiac cycle) discharge electrical current heart rhythm is restored. The method has several drawbacks — the need to immerse the patient to sleep, the need for special equipment for the procedure. In addition, this procedure must be performed in a hospital, which employs highly qualified personnel. But there are significant advantages. Thus, rhythm recovering almost all cases (in contrast to drugs that restore the rhythm only 60 — 80%). This method is the most secure, since any drug has side-effects. If they get there, it takes time to medicine disappeared from blood. Given the advantages of cardioversion, have been set up under the skin is sutured machines — cardioverter that detect atrial fibrillation and stop it. However, while these devices are not widely used.

Maintaining the rhythm

After restoring the rhythm necessary to maintain it. Require treatment of the disease, which has led to atrial fibrillation, the elimination of the factors that provoke an attack. If the attacks are rare, sometimes by a special anti-arrhythmic therapy abstain. However, most often have to make medicine, preventing the development of arrhythmias.

Sometimes, when frequently occurring, hard-borne attacks patients have to use surgical treatment.

Can atrial fibrillation persist for a long time and is not dangerous is it?

There are two main forms of arrhythmia: paroxysmal, which is manifested by individual attacks, and constant when atrial fibrillation persists for years or even decades. At a constant form is preferable to abandon the restoration of normal rhythm. Of course, the constant arrhythmia threatens serious complications, especially if accompanied by tachycardia. But it helps regular medication, slows the heart rate. Not harmful to constantly take pills? It's a shame that even in this enlightened age, people prefer to be ill, but would not "clutter up the body chemistry." It's safe to say that the refusal of treatment will bring much more harm to the body.

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