Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Heart Monitor Heart Monitor
Dr. Adam Goldberg Dr. Adam Goldberg

Atrial Fibrillation, often referred to as AFib, is an abnormal heart rhythm that occurs in the adult population. 

“It is an abnormal heart rhythm that is generally fast, very fast, and irregular,” noted Dr. Adam Goldberg, an electrophysiologist at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. 

While there are things you can do to prevent AFib - like maintaining a healthy weight, eating right and exercising - it’s becoming more and more prevalent simply because people are living longer. 

“The most common risk factor for atrial fibrillation is actually getting older, so as our population is aging and we’re living longer, the rates of atrial fibrillation are rising,” noted Dr. Goldberg.  

While AFib can be detected by doctors with a stethoscope, you can also look for symptoms yourself at home. 

“The symptoms of atrial fibrillation most predominantly are palpitations and racing heart rate. But they can also manifest with shortness of breath with exertion and some people just feel general fatigue as well,” noted Dr. Goldberg. 

If symptoms are present, an EKG is often used to confirm the diagnosis. “Confirming it with an EKG which basically shows us the electrical signals of the heart,” said Dr. Goldberg. 

If you do end up with AFib, there are a variety of treatment options - ranging from medications to catheter ablation procedures - that will likely be used to treat the problem. 

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, please email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

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