Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation Types

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. The type of atrial fibrillation that you have depends on how often atrial fibrillation occurs and how it responds to treatment.

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation

You may experience a brief event — a paroxysm — of atrial fibrillation. It may pass without symptoms, or you may feel it strongly. The event usually stops in less than 24 hours but may last up to a week. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation can happen more than once. You may need treatment, or your symptoms may go away on their own.

When this kind of atrial fibrillation occurs and it alternates with a heartbeat that is slower than normal, it is called tachy-brady syndrome.

Persistent atrial fibrillation

Persistent atrial fibrillation occurs when the abnormal heart rhythm you experience lasts for more than a week. It could eventually return to normal on its own, but you may need treatment to regulate your heartbeat.

Long-term persistent atrial fibrillation

Long-term persistent atrial fibrillation occurs when abnormal heart rhythms last for more than a year without getting better.

Permanent atrial fibrillation

Sometimes atrial fibrillation does not get better, even when you and your healthcare providers have tried to restore a normal heart rhythm with medicines or other treatments. At this point, your atrial fibrillation is considered permanent. Often, especially without treatment, atrial fibrillation may progress from paroxysmal to persistent to long-term.

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