AFib, A Fib, Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Palpitation Scan

If you're experiencing heart palpitations, Cardio-Med can help diagnose the causes. These symptoms are referred to medically as arrhythmia of the heart. One serious form of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation (Afib, A fib). Atrial fibrillation may be a sign of serious cardiac malfunction and therefore should be investigated as soon as possible.

Cardio-Med offers screening/diagnostic tests/scans for early diagnosis of intermittent or persistent atrial fibrillation.

  • Continuous monitoring and recording of EKG (electrical impulses generated by the heart) for diagnosing any abnormalities of the heart rhythm.

This test is done most commonly for one of three reasons:

  1. a patient feels one or more of these disturbances such as palpitations (ectopy) or rapid heart rate (tachycardia);
  2. a patient is having symptoms (such as dizziness or fainting) which may be due to tachycardia and/or bradycardia (slow heart rate);
  3. To determine if a patient’s pacemaker or defibrillator is working properly.

What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib, A Fib)

Atrial fibrillation (also referred to as AFib, Afib, A-fib, and AF) is an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm. The irregular rhythm, or arrhythmia, results from abnormal electrical impulses in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart that cause the heartbeat (ventricle contraction) to be irregular and unusually fast. The irregularity can be continuous or it can be constant heart palpitations. Some individuals, especially patients on medications, may have atrial fibrillation constantly but not have a rapid (>100 heartbeats per minute) rate at rest. Variations of AFib may be termed paroxysmal, persistent, or permanent.

Normal heart contractions begin as an electrical impulse in the right atrium. In an adult person with a normal heart rate and rhythm the heart beats 50-100 times per minute at rest (not under stress or exercising).

  • If the heart beats more than 100 times per minute, the heart rate is considered fast (tachycardia).
  • If the heart beats less than 50 times per minute, the heart rate is considered slow (bradycardia).

In atrial fibrillation, other impulses besides the normal one travel through the atria at the same time. The reasons that these sources develop are not completely understood, but cardiac muscles in the pulmonary veins have electrical generating properties and may be one source of these extra impulses.

  • Instead of a coordinated contraction, the atrial contractions are irregular, disorganized, chaotic and very rapid. The atria may contract at a rate of 400-600 beats per minute. The blood flow from the atria to the ventricles is often disrupted.
  • These irregular impulses reach the atrioventricular (AV) node in the muscle wall between the two ventricles in rapid succession, but not all of the impulses make it past the AV node. Therefore, the ventricles beat more slowly than the atria, often at fairly fast rates of 110-180 beats per minute in an irregular rhythm.
  • The resulting rapid, irregular heartbeat causes an irregular pulse and sometimes a sensation of fluttering in the chest.

Atrial fibrillation can occur in several different patterns.

  • Intermittent (paroxysmal): The heart develops afib and typically converts back again spontaneously to normal (sinus) rhythm. The episodes may last anywhere from seconds to days.
  • Persistent: A Fib occurs in episodes, but the arrhythmia does not convert back to sinus rhythm spontaneously. Medical treatment or cardioversion (electrical treatment) is required to end the episode.
  • Permanent: The patient experiences constant heart palpitations. Conversion back to sinus rhythm either is not possible or is deemed not appropriate for medical reasons. In most cases, the rate is reduced by medications and the patients are placed on anticlotting medication for their lifetime.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib, A Fib, atrial tachyarrhythmia or atrial tachycardia) is a fairly common heart rhythm disorder.

  • In persons with predisposition to Afib, triggers include extreme stress, large amount of alcohol consumption and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Sometimes, transient or persistent Afib can develop after heart surgery or heart attack.
  • It affects mostly people older than 60 years.
  • The risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases as we get older.

Complications of A Fib:

  • Complications like blood clot formation, strokes, and heart failure can arise.
  • Proper treatment can reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation causing serious or life-threatening problems.

Also offered are:

We also offer a body scan that provides ultrasound imaging of body organs and a test for stroke to check carotid artery blood flow to the brain. This suite of tests including the complete physical exam gives your physician a complete view of your state of health.

Call (847)758-1230 today for an appointment and consultation with our physician.
Serving Chicago, IL and all of the Chicago northwest suburbs, southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana.

Adapted from eMedicineHealth