PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What is atrial fibrillation (AFib)?

ANSWER

Press your hand against your chest. Those little thumps you feel are your heart pumping, moving blood into and out of its chambers and through the rest of your body.

Normally, the top part of your heart (the atria) squeezes first, then the bottom part (the ventricles). The timing of these contractions moves the blood, but for more than 2 million Americans, the electrical signals that control this system are off-kilter. Instead of working together, the atria do their own thing. This fast, fluttering heartbeat, what doctors call arrhythmia, is atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

SOURCES:

News release, FDA.

American Heart Association: "Atrial Fibrillation."

Cleveland Clinic: "What is Atrial Fibrillation?"

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Atrial Fibrillation."

The University of Chicago Medical Center: "Surgical Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation."

Shea, J. , May 20, 2008. Circulation

Ferri, F. , 1st ed., Mosby Elsevier, 2010. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011

Bonow, R. , 9th ed. Saunders Elsevier, 2011. Braunwald's Heart Disease - A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine

Task Force for the Management of Atrial Fibrillation. , October 2010. European Heart Journal

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on May 3, 2018

SOURCES:

News release, FDA.

American Heart Association: "Atrial Fibrillation."

Cleveland Clinic: "What is Atrial Fibrillation?"

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Atrial Fibrillation."

The University of Chicago Medical Center: "Surgical Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation."

Shea, J. , May 20, 2008. Circulation

Ferri, F. , 1st ed., Mosby Elsevier, 2010. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011

Bonow, R. , 9th ed. Saunders Elsevier, 2011. Braunwald's Heart Disease - A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine

Task Force for the Management of Atrial Fibrillation. , October 2010. European Heart Journal

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on May 3, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

How serious is atrial fibrillation (AFib)?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.