Heart Home > Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is a type of atrial fibrillation in which the irregular heartbeat occurs every so often. The heart eventually returns to its normal rhythm. It is hard to predict when episodes of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation will occur, and the causes are generally unknown. About 1 in 4 people with this condition will eventually develop permanent atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is a form of abnormal heart rhythm. There are several types of atrial fibrillation. One type is called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is a condition in which an irregular heart rhythm occurs periodically. The heart returns to its normal sinus rhythm on its own -- in a few minutes, hours, or days. People who have this type of atrial fibrillation may have episodes every day, or only a few times a year. When these episodes begin and end is usually unpredictable, which can be very unsettling.
About 1 in 4 people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation eventually develop the permanent form of the condition.
The causes of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation aren't always known. They can be similar to causes of chronic atrial fibrillation, although most people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation have normal hearts. Sick sinus syndrome is often found in people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
People with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation appear to be at just as high a risk of developing blood clots as those with chronic atrial fibrillation. However, the benefits of blood-thinning medications, such as Coumadin®, have not been shown to be as effective as with chronic atrial fibrillation.
Your doctor considers a number of factors before recommending medication for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation treatment. One consideration will be how often the paroxysmal atrial fibrillation episodes occur.