Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common and under-diagnosed heart problems. It is a heart rhythm disorder and is one of five risk factors that cause cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs). that’s what they indicate from Argentine Federation of Cardiology (FAC)who opened first national record To create a database that allows knowing how many people in Argentina suffer from it.
FAC. President of Luis Aguinaga, highlights that the disease, along with heart failure, is something of a “cardiovascular epidemic of this century”. “This arrhythmia is the main cause of stroke worldwide and Argentina is one of the places with the highest prevalence of AF in the world. In fact, AF causes a stroke on the planet every 15 seconds. One of the most serious issues is this. It is estimated that about 30% of AF strokes are discovered after a stroke has occurred.For this reason, the registry we have opened aims to obtain information, not only to improve the treatment of cases found, but also to timely diagnosis. The number of patients treated is also to increase. Cardiologists can register cases on the available website (www.argentinasinfa.com.ar),” argues Aguinaga.
Cesar Mooney, a specialist in cardiac electrophysiology at the British Hospital, explains that AF This is a heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia) that begins in one of the heart’s chambers, the left atrium, which becomes electrically disorganized and causes this chamber to not contract evenly and effectively. .
Experts warn that, in the world, 2 to 4% of the adult population have this type of arrhythmia, and point out that this percentage increases as the person ages. “In the past few years, this percentage is expected to double or even triple due to an increase in life expectancy as well as a significant increase in other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, coronary disease, heart or kidney failure, COPD and chronic respiratory diseases such as sleep apnea”, describes Mooney.
Doctor explains that one of the big problems is this type of arrhythmia are not always symptomatic, “In many cases it can cause an increase in heart rate (tachycardia), palpitations, shortness of breath, poor exercise tolerance, chest pain, dizziness or fainting. However, other times the person may experience this arrhythmia asymptomatically. , which is worse because it will manifest later with complications such as stroke, heart failure, or coronary disease.
One of the ways to detect atrial fibrillation, if it is asymptomatic, is to take a pulse with a certain frequency, which can be rapid or irregular.
Then, Moni explains, confirmation is made through an electrocardiogram, a Holter, and other cardiological studies designed to detect arrhythmias at any time of day if the heart has not presented any irregularities in heart rate at the time of consultation. had..
“The fact that FA is occasional is still a problem. Many patients have complications from this arrhythmia, which occur sporadically. Occasional (paroxysmal AF) or permanent presentation has similar risks of complications,” says Mooney. Huh.
Alejandro Anderson, director of the Buenos Aires Institute of Neurology, indicates that AF increases the risk of CVA by five-fold. “Normally there is always the same amount of time between heartbeats. Like atrial fibrillation, the heartbeat is more chaotic, the blood moves irregularly and this facilitates the formation of thrombi. So we call them emboli and they can stay in a small artery and form an embolism”, he details.
“You have to look at why he has that arrhythmia. If there is no obvious reason that triggers it, the patient should start treatment. The most important thing to start is antiarrhythmic drug, Then it will be necessary to evaluate the risk that the patient suffers from a stroke. The more risk factors there are, the more likely you are to suffer from it. As risk increases, always use anticoagulant drugs, This will be the first stage of treatment. However, patient evaluation should be continued and is usually indicated. exercise and lifestyle changes, But, if the arrhythmia returns, another example is ablation, that is, catheterization, to see where the focus of the arrhythmia is and eliminate it with heat. it is called radiofrequency ablation, This treatment seeks to be able to correct the arrhythmia and free the patient from the drug, free from the risk of embolism and heart failure”, he details. Fernando Scazuso, chief of electrophysiology and arrhythmia at the ICBA Cardiovascular Institute.
Oscar Mendiz, director of the Institute of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery at the Favaloro Foundation University Hospital, says that when the arrhythmia cannot be corrected via radiofrequency and becomes a chronic problem, the patient should take anticoagulants so that thrombi do not form. “In the case of patients who cannot take anticoagulants, a kind of plug should be placed by catheterization in the atrial appendage, which is the site where clots usually form. This is called closure of the atrial appendage”, the expert explains. does.