Do You Have Atrial Fibrillation?
Are You Having Heart Surgery?
Find Out if Surgical Afib Treatment Is Right for You
Your doctor believes the best treatment for your heart condition is surgery. This website may help to answer some of your questions. It may also suggest topics you want to discuss with the surgeon before your surgery—such as whether the surgeon can treat your atrial fibrillation (Afib) at the same time. First, let’s look at some basics about Afib.
What is Afib?
Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal and irregular heartbeat, or heart rhythm. It occurs in the heart’s upper chambers, the atria. Atrial fibrillation is caused by erratic electrical signals in the heart.
You might also hear atrial fibrillation called AF, or Afib.
When you have a normal heart rhythm, it’s because cells at the top of the heart create electrical signals that travel along pathways in the heart. These electrical signals are essential. They allow the heart’s chambers to contract and pump in a steady, rhythmic way. In turn, the heart pumps blood to all parts of the body.
But sometimes the electrical signals go awry. Afib causes the atria to beat so fast that they merely quiver. They are not able to pump blood to the lower chambers of the heart, the ventricles. As a result, blood pools in the atria. The pooling of blood can cause the blood to clot, putting the person at higher risk of stroke.
Symptoms of Afib1
- Shortness of Breath
- Feeling lightheaded
- Chest Pain
- Lowered Blood Pressure
- Heart palpitations (a feeling that the heart is racing)
If you notice any of these symptoms, check with your doctor—before your heart surgery—to see if you might have Afib.