FAQs Newly Diagnosed with A-Fib: LIfe Threatening?

 FAQs Newly Diagnosed: Life Threatening?

Maze heart You are not alone - with outline 175 pix at 96 res5. “Can I die from my Atrial Fibrillation? Is it life threatening?”

Most episodes of A-Fib are not life threatening. Even though you may feel awful, it’s not like having a heart attack.

The biggest danger from A-Fib is the risk of stroke. Because your heart isn’t pumping out properly, blood clots can form and travel to the brain causing stroke. If you have A-Fib, you are five times more likely to have a stroke than the general population. You may need to take a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin) or a NOAC to help prevent these clots from forming.

If you’ve had A-Fib for a long time, your heart may enlarge, develop fibrosis and eventually weaken. You may become more prone to other heart problems. For example, If you have A-Fib and aren’t being treated by a doctor, you are five times more likely to have a stroke than the general population. Also, A-Fib may lead to mental deterioration. Atrial fibrillation is independently associated with senile, vascular, and Alzheimer’s dementia.

For more about the physiology of A-Fib, see our Overview of Atrial Fibrillation.

Last updated: Monday, February 13, 2017

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