What Is Valvular Atrial Fibrillation

What Is Valvular Atrial Fibrillation?

Valvular atrial fibrillation (VAF) is a type of irregular heartbeat caused by abnormal electrical activity within the heart’s upper chambers called the atria and ventricles. VAF is one of the most common causes of sudden death in young adults.1–3

The heart’s upper chambers are responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. When these chambers become abnormally active, they cause a drop in blood pressure, which results in a drop in oxygen levels in the bloodstream.4

When this happens, it is known as cardiac arrest.5 If left untreated, however, there is little chance of survival if someone with VAF does not receive immediate medical attention.6

A person may have VAF even without any symptoms.7 However, some people develop symptoms after having a heart attack or other cardiovascular event such as high blood sugar.8,9

Symptoms of Valvular Atrial Fibrillation:

In general, VAF occurs when the heart’s upper chambers become overactive due to factors like age, smoking habits, obesity and certain medications.10–12 These factors increase the risk of developing VAF.

There are many symptoms that are common among people with VAF. Some of these common symptoms include:13

Chest pain

Fatigue

Shortness of breath

Dizziness

Unusual swelling in the feet or legs

Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat

Fainting spells

In some cases, however, a person may not experience any symptoms, making it essential to receive routine check-ups from a medical professional.14

If not well managed with treatment, VAF can lead to more serious conditions like heart failure and stroke.15

Ventricular Fibrillation (VF)

Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is an extremely fast and irregular heartbeat that causes the chambers of the heart to quiver instead of contract.16 Unlike other forms of fibrillation, VF does not involve the atria, or the upper chambers of the heart.

VF is also known as “ventricular tachycardia” or “life-threatening arrhythmia,” and it can be very difficult to treat.16

Treating Valvular Atrial Fibrillation:

Most people with VAF experience an irregular heartbeat in their youth, but they do not develop the condition until later in life.

Sources & references used in this article:

Updated European Heart Rhythm Association Practical Guide on the use of non-vitamin K antagonist anticoagulants in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation by H Heidbuchel, P Verhamme, M Alings, M Antz… – Ep …, 2015 – academic.oup.com

Stroke prevention with the oral direct thrombin inhibitor ximelagatran compared with warfarin in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (SPORTIF III): randomised … by Executive Steering Committee on Behalf of the … – The Lancet, 2003 – Elsevier

European Heart Rhythm Association Practical Guide on the use of new oral anticoagulants in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation by H Heidbuchel, P Verhamme, M Alings, M Antz… – Europace, 2013 – academic.oup.com

Prevention of stroke and systemic embolism with rivaroxaban compared with warfarin in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation and moderate renal impairment by KAA Fox, JP Piccini, D Wojdyla, RC Becker… – European heart …, 2011 – academic.oup.com

EHRA Practical Guide on the use of new oral anticoagulants in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation: executive summary by H Heidbuchel, P Verhamme, M Alings… – European heart …, 2013 – academic.oup.com

Uninterrupted rivaroxaban vs. uninterrupted vitamin K antagonists for catheter ablation in non-valvular atrial fibrillation by R Cappato, FE Marchlinski, SH Hohnloser… – European heart …, 2015 – academic.oup.com

What is ‘valvular’atrial fibrillation? A reappraisal by R De Caterina, AJ Camm – European heart journal, 2014 – academic.oup.com

Oral anticoagulants for preventing stroke in patients with non‐valvular atrial fibrillation and no previous history of stroke or transient ischemic attacks by MI Aguilar, R Hart – Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2005 – cochranelibrary.com