Dear Doctor: Does someone have to quarantine if test for COVID-19 is positive even after vaccination? - OregonLive
Jun 17, 2021 1 min, 15 secs

ANSWER: Atrial fibrillation is a disturbance of the normal heart rhythm.

Instead of a reliable beat from the atria (the top chambers of the heart), chaotic electrical activity creates an irregular heart rate.

The first is that the heart rate, being irregular, can sometimes get so fast that it causes symptoms or even damage to the heart if it persists.

Most of the time, the heart can handle this, but in people with heart failure or who have damage to the heart valves, this can cause noticeable worsening of heart function.

Virtually everyone over age 75 with atrial fibrillation, and many people younger who have additional clotting risks, should be on anticoagulant medication to reduce stroke risk.

In addition to anticoagulation, the cardiologist deciding on how to treat atrial fibrillation must choose between controlling the rhythm or the rate.

In “rhythm control,” we try to get a person back into normal rhythm; with “rate control,” we allow a person to stay in atrial fibrillation but use medication if necessary to keep the heart rate in a normal range.

When a person is in and out of atrial fibrillation, as it seems you are, then electrical cardioversion may not be the right option for rhythm control, and the cardiologist will consider medications, such as flecainide or amiodarone, to keep a person in normal rhythm.

I should note that even people who are experiencing atrial fibrillation for a short amount of time are still at higher risk for stroke and need careful consideration of anticoagulation.


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