This irregular heartbeat is created by a
disruption in a web of nerves covering the surface of the heart. These nerves
send electrical signals that cause your heart to contract and pump blood out of
Most people know that cardiovascular disease can run in families -- that if
you have a family history of heart disease, you may be at greater risk for
heart attack, stroke, and other heart problems. But how much does family
history affect your heart health? What parts of the family tree are most
important? And what can you do about it?
This web of nerves is controlled by a collection of
cells on the right atrium called the sinoatrial node. As it fires, so do the
rest of the nerves, causing all of the muscle cells in your heart to contract,
producing one forceful pump.
As mitral valve stenosis or MR
stretches out your heart, it too can disrupt this web of nerves. Communication
pathways may weaken because the sinoatrial node is no longer working correctly.
Without clear signals from this node, the nerves begin to fire randomly,
creating a chaotic network of electrical signals. When this happens, the heart
is no longer able to pump with one motion, and instead it starts beating
Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia that stems from mitral valve
stenosis and MR. If you have atrial fibrillation, you will have treatment to control or stop the irregular rhythm.
For more information, see the topic
In this article
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
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