Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia and its prevalence tends to increase with age. What are the symptoms and how to treat them? Maurizio Gasparini, who took part in Medicina 33, spoke about this topic on 30 June on Rai 2.


What are the symptoms of AF?

Atrial fibrillation has a very variable symptomatology, from a very accelerated heartbeat, such as a short circuit, to a lack of symptoms that occurs only at an advanced stage, when the heart begins to lose power and patients experience a lack of breath. Atrial fibrillation is also associated with the risk of thrombotic events, since the mechanical immobility of the atria promotes the formation of clots that can subsequently cause ischemia and stroke in the brain.


What are the therapies for atrial fibrillation?

Generally, it is treated with pharmacological therapy: the patient receives antiarrhythmic drugs, often associated with anticoagulants. When the drugs are no longer effective, ablative intervention is evaluated. Fibrillation, in fact, occurs when the two upper cavities of the heart (atria) contract very quickly and with an irregular rhythm. The aim of the ablative intervention is to obtain an electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins by creating a circular scar at the level of their outlet in the left atrium by means of an electric energy supply. The heart is navigated through an electromagnetic device superimposed on that of the CT scan, which makes it possible to operate with millimeter precision.