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Atrial Fibrillation : Patient Education

Are there different types of AF?

Yes, atrial fibrillation is categorized into three classifications.

  • Paroxysmal AF: Two or more episodes that resolve without treatment.
  • Persistent AF: Episodes lasting longer than seven days or that require intervention by your physician.
  • Permanent AF: Traditional treatment is no longer effective, and the patient remains in AF the majority of the time.

What are the symptoms of AF?

Symptoms may include:

  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sometimes, there may be no symptoms

Why is AF dangerous?

It is a progressive disorder that can get worse over time. Many people live with AF for years without problems. However, chronic AF can cause stroke or heart failure.

What are the common risk factors for AF?

Risk factors may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart surgery
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Pulmonary embolism (blocked artery in the lungs)
  • Age over 60
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine
  • Stress

How is AF diagnosed?

Our comprehensive arrhythmia program at The Chester County Hospital offers the most up-to-date technology and equipment to diagnose and treat AF. Diagnostic tests include:

  • Electroanatomic Mapping with CT Merge
  • Live 3D Echocardiography
  • CT Angiogram
  • Intracardiac Echocardiography

For additional information or to schedule an evaluation, call 1-866-218-6636.

Last Updated: 7/13/2009