What is AFib?
Atrial fibrillation (also known as AFib) is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. AFib is the most frequently encountered arrhythmia in clinically practice.1
At rest, a fully-functioning heart contracts regularly. Atrial fibrillation disturbs the rhythm of these contractions, producing an irregular pulse with impaired function in the upper chamber of the heart called the atrium.
AFib is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia, affecting over 886,000 new people each year in Europe.2
Burden of AFib, the cause of stroke
The stagnant blood generates clots which flow into the body. The clots can flow into the blood vessels near the brain causing ischemic stroke in case of blockage.
Stroke is the world’s second leading cause of death, with over 5 million people dying of stroke each year.3
Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of a stroke by around 4 to 5 times.4
However, people with AFib have an increased risk for life-threatening complications and other diseases.5
Risk and Prevalence of AFib
Lifetime risk for AFib in men (26%) and women (23%)6
Prevalence in 80 years and older7
Worldwide 33.5 million people affected by AFib8
Risk of AFib, especially on the relationship with hypertension
Atrial fibrillation has an intimate relationship with high blood pressure. In a clinical study of atrial fibrillation, the principal cause of approximately 60% of cases was determined to be high blood pressure.9
Older age / Male sex / Obesity / Diabetes / Heart failure / Ischemic heart disease / Hyperthyroidism / Chronic kidney disease / Heavy alcohol use / Smoking / Enlargement of the chambers on the left side of the heart
Atrial fibrillation is accompanied by a variety of noticeable symptoms such as chest discomfort, difficulty breathing or chest pain. However, while 1 out of every 2 patients will not feel subjective symptom, their conditions are progressing.11
Prevention and Diagnosis
Identifying individuals at risk of developing AFib is important, however, there is stronger evidence that early detection and treatment of modifiable risk factors can reduce morbidity and mortality due to AFib.12
Blood Pressure Monitor with AFib Screening Function is the first step for home monitoring your blood pressure.
It is capable of simply screening for Atrial fibrillation onset via checks for rhythmic disruptions in pulse when measuring blood pressure. Current guidelines advocate that “all patients who present with symptoms of AF―breathlessness, palpitations, syncope, chest discomfort or stroke―should have their pulse checked for irregularities as well as 12-lead ECG”.13
However, it can aid in early detection through consultation with a physician when AFib warning signs are detected frequently, an ECG is still required to confirm the diagnosis.
Most people with atrial fibrillation will need to take medicines. The physician will decide the best ones for you.
Ask your doctor for information on the treatment.
1 Chugh SS, Havmoeller R, Narayanan K, et al. Worldwide epidemiology of atrial fibrillation: a Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study. Circulation. 2014;129:837–847
2 Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network (2016) Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 (GBD 2016) Results. Seattle, United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 2017. Accessed 2018-04-20. Available from http://ghdx.healthdata.org/gbd-results-tool.
3 WHO Fact sheets 2018 “The top 10 causes of death”
4 NHS, Atrial Fibrillation, 2018. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atrial-fibrillation/complications/. Last accessed May 2019.
5 Odutayo A, Wong CX, Hsiao AJ, Hopewell S, Altman DG et al. (2016) Atrial fibrillation and risks of cardiovascular disease, renal disease, and death: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bmj 354 i4482
6 Lloyd-jones DM, Wang TJ, Leip EP, et al. Lifetime risk for development of atrial fibrillation: the Framingham Heart Study. Circulation. 2004;110(9):1042-6.
7 Aronow, W. S., & Banach, M. (2009). Atrial Fibrillation: The New Epidemic of the Ageing World. Journal of atrial fibrillation, 1(6), 154. doi:10.4022/jafib.154
8 Morillo, Carlos A et al. “Atrial fibrillation: the current epidemic.” Journal of geriatric cardiology : JGC vol. 14,3 (2017): 195-203. doi:10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.03.011.
9 Camm AJ, Savelieva I, Bharati S, et al. Atrial tachycardia, flutter,and fibrillation. In: Saksena S, Camm AJ, eds. Electrophysiological Disorders of the Heart. Elsevier Churchill- Livingstone, 2005:283-363.
10 Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, Arnett DK, Blaha MJ, Cushman M, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015;131:e29–e322
11 Esato M, Chun YH, An Y, et al. Clinical Impact of Asymptomatic Presentation Status in Patients With Paroxysmal and Sustained Atrial Fibrillation: The Fushimi AF Registry. Chest. 2017;152(6):1266-1275.
13 Davis M, Rodgers S, Rudolf M, Hughes M, Lip GY, Guideline Development Group for the NICE clinical guideline for the management of atrial fibrillation. Heart. 2007 Jan; 93(1):48-52