"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

New risk aspects, higher treatment options for atrial fibrillation: What it is best to know

May 4, 2023 – Did you recognize that Atrial fibrillation – higher often called AFib – is essentially the most common form of heart rhythm disorder, and by 2030, an estimated about 12.1 million Americans will you might have it?

The CDC It is estimated that over 454,000 individuals are hospitalized with atrial fibrillation every year and roughly 158,000 patients die from the condition every year. If atrial fibrillation is left untreated, the danger of heart-related death doubles and the danger of stroke increases fivefold, in keeping with the American Heart Association.

With atrial fibrillation, your heart beats either too slowly, too quickly, or in an irregular pattern.

“AFib occurs in the upper chambers of the heart, usually in the left atrium,” explained Jorge E. Romero, MD, Director of Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology Research and Associate Director of the Ventricular Arrhythmia Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital Heart and Vascular Center in Boston.

“The blood does not flow properly from the upper chambers to the lower chambers of the heart,” which results in temporary attacks of Cardiac arrhythmiasor abnormal heart rhythm that becomes a everlasting problem, said Romero, who can also be a college member at Harvard Medical School.

It is vital to know several newly discovered or little-known risk aspects for atrial fibrillation. Researchers Recently, it has been found that a girl's earlier or later menopause (before age 44 or at age 60 or older) is a very important milestone that will increase the danger of atrial fibrillation. This could also be because irregular menstrual cycles are related to heart disease risks similar to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. It is also because menopause lowers estrogen levels, which can help protect against heart disease.

A new study has also make clear periodontal disease as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation. This form of common gum disease can flood the body with inflammation that may concentrate on the center. (Other research has suggested that inflammation could also be a predictor of the event of atrial fibrillation.)

A height of over 1.70 m may increase the danger of atrial fibrillation because Researchers think In larger people, enlargement of the left atrium can increase the likelihood of developing this condition. Doing strenuous endurance sports, similar to cycling or cross-country skiing, may enlarge the center muscle and thereby increase your potential risk of atrial fibrillation.

The excellent news: You can confer with your doctor about any potential risks and work to stop or treat the condition. Here's every thing you could know to begin that conversation, in addition to details about modern treatments that make a giant difference in managing atrial fibrillation.

What are known risk aspects for atrial fibrillation?

Numerous risk aspects for atrial fibrillation have already been identified.

“These can be divided into two categories: changeable and non-changeable, such as gender, age and family history,” said Muhammad Afzal, MBBSclinical cardiac electrophysiologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and clinical assistant professor of medication at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Advanced age, specifically, is a giant warning sign: “Ten percent of people over 80 have atrial fibrillation,” Afzal noted.

Romero associates the next medical problems with atrial fibrillation:

  • High blood pressure, which increases the workload of the center
  • Heart disease, including coronary artery disease, heart valve problems, congenital heart defects and heart failure
  • Obesity related to increased volume and remodeling of the left atrium and all the heart
  • Sleep apnea, which may result in hypertension
  • diabetes
  • Over- and under-functioning of the thyroid gland
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and all other chronic lung diseases
  • Blood relatives with atrial fibrillation
  • Excessive coffee consumption
  • Alcohol excesses.

“The most common reason people of all ages end up in the emergency room for atrial fibrillation is excessive drinking,” Afzal said. “This applies to everyone, including young people, regardless of how healthy they are.”

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

Signs to look out for contain:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Your heart beats irregularly
  • powerlessness
  • Heart palpitations or a sense of “butterflies” or “fuzz” within the chest
  • Chest pain
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath

What are a number of the latest treatments for atrial fibrillation?

“There are many advances that continue to expand our available tools for treating atrial fibrillation and the associated risk of stroke,” said Dr. Nazem Akoum, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Atrial Fibrillation Program on the University of Washington in Seattle. “Catheter ablation remains the most effective therapy for reducing cardiac arrhythmias. Advances in catheter mapping, signal processing and cardiac imaging are helping us identify targets for ablation.”

Ablation is an invasive procedure, but doctors work hard to make it protected.

“A catheter in the left atrium creates isolating lesions around the possible causes of atrial fibrillation,” Romero explained. “These lesions can be created using different energy sources. The traditional energy sources are radiofrequency, which relies on heating the tissue, and cryoablation, which relies on extreme cooling of the tissue. More recently, pulsed field ablation has emerged as a potentially safer strategy, which uses high-energy electrical fields to specifically create small, reversible pores in the heart muscle cells. This minimizes damage to neighboring parts of the body, such as the esophagus.”

Ablation of the Marshall vein is an modern and minimally invasive type of the procedure.

“Part of the left upper ventricle of the heart is called the Marshall bundle,” Afzal said. “We can inject alcohol into the 'Marshall vein,' or VOM. It sounds counterintuitive, but it causes a narrowing of that vein, which can stop atrial fibrillation.”

In addition, there are latest research results on the event of atrial fibrillation-related strokes.

“From a stroke prevention perspective, mechanistic studies are currently being conducted to help us understand the formation of blood clots and emboli,” Akoum said. “These will help us choose the best anticoagulant drug therapy or medical device options to reduce stroke risk in our atrial fibrillation patients.”

Another strategy: Left atrial appendage closure or LAAC.

“LAAC is an alternative strategy for stroke prevention that does not require long-term anticoagulation,” said Romero. “It isolates the left atrial appendage of the left atrium from the ventricle, which is the cause of more than 99% of blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation.”

Bottom line: If you might have symptoms that will indicate you might have atrial fibrillation, see a physician immediately for a correct diagnosis. If you might have atrial fibrillation, ask your cardiologist about latest or modified treatment options to seek out out what solutions might be just right for you. Controlling atrial fibrillation is simpler than ever, so be proactive to live a healthier, happier life.