What is AF and It’s Full form

AF – Atrial Fibrillation

af full form

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Arial fibrillation (Afib) can be described as an irregular heart rhythm. It is also called a type arrhythmia. It can disrupt the blood flow and increase the chance of stroke and blood clots.

The most common arrhythmia in clinical practice is A-fib. It affects up to 3% of the Western population over the age of 20 years, according to estimates. A-fib is most prevalent in older adults, but it can occur at younger ages as well.

The heart is made up of four chambers. There are two upper chambers, the atria, and two lower chambers, called the ventricles.

A steady pulse in the right atrium usually begins the heartbeat. This causes a steady, regular heartbeat and blood circulation between the ventricles and the atria.

A-fib patients may experience irregular electrical impulses that cause the right and left upper chambers to twitch rapidly and erratically. Fibrillation is the name for this condition. As a resultTrusted Source, the atria will beat unusually, thereby altering blood flow to the ventricles.

The resulting arrhythmia may or may not produce symptoms. Recognizing and treating A-fib at an early stage can help to prevent complications.

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What happens during AFib

Your heart contract and relaxes normally to a regular beat. Atrial fibrillation occurs when the upper chambers (the atria), beat irregularly instead of effectively moving blood into the ventricles.

A stroke is a condition where a blood clot enters the body and lodges in the brain’s artery. This heart arrhythmia affects 15-20% of stroke victims. Patients with this condition are prescribed *blood thinners to reduce the risk of clots.

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Untreated atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of death by up to five times and cause a higher risk of stroke. However, most patients don’t realize that AFib can be a serious condition.

According to the 2009 survey “Out of Sync”,

  1. Only 33% believe atrial fibrillation to be a serious condition in AF patients
  2. Half of AF patients don’t believe they are at increased risk of stroke, heart-related hospitalizations, or death.

Signs

Atrial fibrillation can be a silent condition. They may not have symptoms or are aware of it until they’re diagnosed during a physical exam. Atrial fibrillation symptoms can include:

  1. Palpitations are feelings of racing, discomfort, irregular heartbeats, or a feeling that you’re flip-flopping around in your chest.
  2. Weakness
  3. Exercise ability is reduced
  4. Fatigue
  5. Lightheadedness
  6. Dizziness
  7. Breathing difficulties
  8. Chest pain

Atrial fibrillation may be:

  1. Sometimes.It’s known as paroxysmal (parok-SIZmul) atrial fibrillation. There are many symptoms that can occur, which may last from a few minutes up to several hours. Some symptoms can last for weeks, and they may occur repeatedly. You may not need treatment, but your symptoms might disappear on their own.
  2. Persistency.This type of atrial fibrillation can cause your heart rhythm to stop normalizing. For persistent atrial fibrillation to resolve, you will need medication or an electric shock.
  3. Persistent for a long timeThis form of atrial fibrillation lasts for 12 months and is permanent.
  4. PermanentThis type of atrial fibrillation is permanent and can’t be corrected. Atrial fibrillation is permanent. You will need medication to regulate your heart rate and prevent blood clots.

When should you see a doctor?

Your doctor should be consulted if you experience symptoms of atrial fibrillation. To determine if you have atrial fibrillation, your doctor may order an Electrocardiogram.

Chest pain should be reported immediately to emergency medical personnel. A heart attack could be triggered by chest pain.

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Treatment

The treatment of A-fib aims to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Many people can be treated with prescription medications. In some cases, however, doctors might recommend medical intervention.

To develop a comprehensive treatment plan, medical professionals will evaluate the person’s lifestyle, health, heart function, and underlying health.

The following may be required for treatment.

Medications

The use of medication can regulate a person’s heart beat, prevent clots forming and in some cases, even normalize the heart rhythm.

How to manage your heart rate

It is important to bring down the heart rate if it is too high. This will prevent heart failure and lower the symptoms of Afib.

Many medications can slow down the heartbeat. These medications include:

  1. beta-blockers, such as metoprolol and atenolol
  2. calcium channel blockers, such as diltiazem and verapamil
  3. digoxin

Prevention of clots

Doctors may recommend anticoagulant medication or blood thinners. These medications make blood clot more difficult.

Blood-thinning medication can increase the risk of excessive bleeding. However, for most people, the benefits of preventing blood clots are greater than the risks of bleeding.

A doctor can tell if a person should take blood-thinning medication. This is done by determining a CHA2DS2-Vasc Score.

Direct-acting oral anticoagulants are some of the blood-thinning medications — such as apixaban and rivaroxaban and edoxaban — as well as warfarin, which is less common.

Warfarin and other anti-clotting agents should be notified by any doctor treating the patient. This is particularly important when treating other conditions and before surgery.

Normalizing heart rhythm

A doctor might not prescribe a medication to control heart rate, but may instead recommend medication to restore normal heart rhythm. This is known as pharmacologic or chemical cardioversion.

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Examples of medication that convert A-fib into a regular rhythm include medications called sodium channel blockers such as flecainide and potassium channel blockers such as amiodarone. These medications are known as anti-arrhythmics.

Even if the heart beat returns to normal, it is not uncommon for a person to need blood-thinning medication.

Procedures

Additional procedures may be required if a patient’s condition is not responding to medications. These procedures can help to control heart beat, normalize heart rhythm, and prevent A-fib complications.

Some recommended procedures include:

  1. ElectrocardioversionA surgeon can deliver an electric shock to the heart that is synchronized. This can change the irregular rhythm back to a normal beat. They should first perform cardioversion.Trusted S
  2. ourcePerform a transesophageal ultrasoundcardiogram. To obtain a picture of the heart, a scope is inserted into the throat. This procedure is performed by a surgeon to check for any clots in the heart. A doctor will recommend anticoagulant medication to dissolve any clots found. After the clot is gone, cardioversion can be performed.
  3. Catheter ablation:This will remove the tissue that causes the irregular rhythm. If A-fib is still present, the surgeon might need to perform this procedure again.
  4. Surgical ablationOpen-heart surgery is also possible. This procedure, called a maze operation, involves the removal of heart tissue that causes irregular rhythms. They may only perform this procedure in conjunction with other heart procedures.
  5. Placement of Pacemaker:This device tells the heart to beat continuously. Sometimes, a surgeon may place a pacemaker on a patient with intermittent A-fib.

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