Atrial Fibrillation and Your Brain

One in seven strokes caused by atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF or aFib), a condition that affects your heart rhythm, does not get the same attention as other common health problems—but it should, says A. Marc Gillinov, MD, Surgical Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Atrial Fibrillation and author of the book Heart 411.

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“Atrial fibrillation does not have the same drama of a stroke or heart attack…but every adult needs to be aware that it exists,” says Dr. Gillinov.  

Blood clot risk

In fact, one in seven strokes is caused by aFib, which is characterized by a chaotic heartbeat pattern due to irregular electrical activity in the heart’s wiring system. Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of blood clots in the heart’s atria—and if a clot moves to the brain, a stroke can occur.

Without treatment, aFib almost always recurs. But the good news is that restoring normal heart rhythm through medication and/or medical therapies will relieve symptoms for most people, says Walide Saliba, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Electrophysiology Lab.

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In the news

EverydayHealth.com’s editorial team recently interviewed Dr. Gillinov and Dr. Saliba for a series of articles on aFib focusing on causes, risks and treatment. Read the articles to learn more:

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