Atrial Fibrillation Complications
Atrial fibrillation can be serious, especially if the condition is left untreated. Some of the potentially dangerous complications of atrial fibrillation include stroke, pulmonary embolism, and congestive heart failure. It should also be noted that people with atrial fibrillation are twice as likely to die prematurely as people with a normal heart rhythm.
An Overview of Atrial Fibrillation Complications
While the atria (upper chambers of the heart) are fibrillating, less blood gets pumped out of the ventricles to the rest of your body.
Blood delivers the oxygen and nutrients that the cells in your body need. If less blood is pumped out of the heart, less fuel is available when the body needs it, so you may feel tired and short of breath. And it can significantly interfere with your daily activities, not only because you may not have enough energy, but because episodes of atrial fibrillation aren't predictable and they can be quite frightening.
Atrial fibrillation can also lead to more serious health problems if it isn't treated. Because of this, people with atrial fibrillation are twice as likely to die prematurely as people with a normal heart rhythm. Since all of your cells depend on your heart for blood and nourishment, atrial fibrillation can affect your entire body.
Serious complications of atrial fibrillation include:
When the atria quiver instead of contracting normally, more blood often gets left behind instead of being pumped into the ventricles. When blood pools like this inside the atria, it can trigger the formation of unwanted clots. These clots can break off, travel throughout your blood vessels, and then become stuck -- decreasing the amount of blood that flows through the vessel.
Any tissue that has its blood flow reduced or completely blocked off can be damaged. This can happen, for example, in an arm, a leg, or an internal organ.