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trial fibrillation (AF) affects an estimated 1.5 million people across the UK and in excess of 16 million worldwide. AF involves the upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria, beating irregularly. As the atria control the normal rhythm of the heart, this means that your pulse becomes irregular. AF is the most powerful single risk factor for suffering a deadly or debilitating stroke. It is estimated that every 15 seconds, someone suffers an AF-related stroke. However, AF can be detected easily with simple manual pulse checks. Treatment with a blood-thinner (anticoagulant) is vital to reducing the risk of stroke. Atrial fibrillation presents itself in many different ways. The most common symptoms are called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. palpitations, which are often rapid and irregular. Atrial fibrillation itself is not usually life People may also experience dizziness, shortness threatening, but can be uncomfortable and of breath and fatigue. In some people, there are often needs treatment. There are a number of no symptoms and the discovery of AF can be an different approaches to the treatment of atrial incidental finding. fibrillation. Assessment by a specialist is The irregular heart rhythm of atrial required to consider which approach is fibrillation causes the blood to pool most suitable for an individual. and this may cause a blood clot to Meet the There are three strategies to treat AF: form. This clot can then be carried specialist Medication to control the heart to the small blood vessels in the Dr Syed Ahsan is a leading London rate or rhythm may be the most brain where it blocks the blood cardiologist and specialist in heart suitable treatment for some flow and causes a stroke. To rhythm disorders. He works at patients. This may be in the form reduce the risk of stroke, people The Wellington Hospital and of regular, daily medication to who have been diagnosed with AF Barts Heart Centre, one of the prevent episodes, or single doses to need an assessment of their risk largest specialist cardiac units take when you have an attack to try factors to decide whether to start in the world. and stop it. an anticoagulant. In patients who are in AF all the time, a Some patients who have developed cardioversion – a small electrical shock across atrial fibrillation may spontaneously the heart under light general anesthesia – can return to normal (sinus) rhythm after a short restore the heart to a normal rhythm. period of time. However, others may find they Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive alternate between these two rhythms. This is treatment option for patients who continue to have symptoms of atrial fibrillation despite medication, or for those who do not wish to take regular medication. In these instances catheter ablation can improve quality of life and is potentially curative. The procedure involves the insertion of catheters, or fine wires, to the heart through the veins at the top of the leg. There are electrodes at the tip of the wires which detect electrical signals from different parts of the heart. Radio waves are used to create heat which destroys the electrical signals within the heart that are responsible for triggering AF. For more information, or to arrange an appointment at The Wellington Hospital, please call our Enquiry Helpline on 020 3504 3159 s l u x u ry l o n d o n . c o. u k s

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Profile for Runwild Media Group

Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine January 2017  

Welcome to the latest edition of Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features,...

Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine January 2017  

Welcome to the latest edition of Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features,...

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