AFib happens when the heart's electrical signals don't travel through the heart in a normal way. Instead, they become very rapid and disorganized. These disorganized electrical signals cause the heart's two upper chambers (atria) to fibrillate, or contract very fast and irregularly. In patients with AFib, blood pools in the atria. It isn't pumped completely into the heart's two lower chambers (ventricles). As a result, the heart's upper and lower chambers don't work together as they should.
Symptoms, medical complications, and treatment options vary among individuals.
Patient Story: A Life Without AFib
Types of AFib
- Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation - In paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, the faulty electrical signals and rapid heart rate begin suddenly and then stop on their own. Symptoms can be mild or severe. They stop within about a week, but usually in less than 24 hours.
- Persistent Atrial Fibrillation - Persistent AFib is a condition in which the abnormal heart rhythm continues for more than a week. It may stop on its own, or it can be stopped with treatment.
- Permanent Atrial Fibrillation - Permanent AFib is a condition in which a normal heart rhythm can't be restored with treatment. Both paroxysmal and persistent AFib may become more frequent and, over time, result in permanent AFib.
As a patient of The AFib Center at The Heart Institute, you will receive a personalized treatment plan.
Find a Physician
Find a physician online or call 267-880-DHAF (3423) (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) to speak with a referral counselor.