Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) usually causes the ventricles to contract faster than normal. When this happens, the ventricles don't have enough time to fill completely with blood to pump to the lungs and body.
This inefficient pumping can cause signs and symptoms, such as:
- Palpitations (feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or fast)
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness or difficulty exercising
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or fainting
- Fatigue (tiredness)
Atrial Fibrillation Complications:
A-Fib has two major complications-stroke and heart failure.
During A-Fib, the atria don't pump all of their blood to the ventricles. Some blood pools in the atria. When this happens, a blood clot (also called a thrombus) can form.
If the clot breaks off and travels to the brain, it can cause a stroke. (A clot that forms in one part of the body and travels in the bloodstream to another part of the body is called an embolus.)
Blood-thinning medicines to reduce the risk of stroke are a very important part of treatment for people who have A-Fib.
*Information from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute