Generally speaking, for things like, you know, coronary artery disease where you develop blockages there are a lot of variety of lifestyle factors that contribute to coronary artery disease.
For atrial fibrillation that’s really typically not the case. So typically, people develop atrial fibrillation as they get older as a result of some things that they can control like high blood pressure, and in some patients we never really know exactly why they develop it. It’s just something that can appear at an increasing rate as patients get older.
And it is, in and of itself is not something that you are born with. Patients who have other abnormalities, other congenital heart abnormalities can develop atrial fibrillation, but as an isolated condition, it’s not something that you are born with, it’s something that typically will show up later in life in middle age and then progressively as patients get older.
Dr. Aklog, a woman anonymously, on the website, asked if an arrhythmia on the right chamber of the heart – the upper right chamber, could be classified as an atrial fibrillation?
Dr. Lishan Aklog:
That’s a good question and to answer, we have to delve a little bit into an anatomy lesson. So, what the writer is referring to is that the two upper chambers or receiving chambers of the heart – the atrium – there are two of them, one is the right atrium and the other one is that left atrium, and so when we talk about atrial fibrillation, we are really talking about both the right and the left atrium.
Now, there are a variety of arrhythmias that are not atrial fibrillation – things that are referred to as SVT or supraventricular tachycardia and a whole variety of other conditions with big long medical names that are not atrial fibrillation, and many of those can arise in an isolated way in the right atrium, and they can be treated using catheters in a very directed way in the right atrium.