Arrhythmias are problems that affect the electrical system, or "wiring," of the heart muscle. They are very common and millions of people will experience an abnormal heart rhythm some time during their lives.
Atrial fibrillation (A Fib), known as the "silent killer" because it often goes unnoticed, is a disorder found in roughly 2.2 million Americans. During A Fib, the heart's two small upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn't pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke results.
The American Heart Association estimates that 20 percent of all strokes result from A Fib and are usually more debilitating due to the larger size of the clots. A person with A Fib has a six-fold increased risk of stroke versus patients with normal heart rhythm. The likelihood of developing A Fib increases with age, affecting roughly three to five percent of people over age 65.
Traditionally, patients diagnosed with A Fib take blood thinning medications to prevent blood clots from forming in the heart. Current blood thinning medications require frequent monitoring and have diet and other drug interactions causing many patients to discontinue use of the medication.
In addition to Natale, the team of electrophysiologists with Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia and TCAI includes Shane M. Bailey, M.D.; J. David Burkhardt, M.D., F.A.C.C.; Robert C. Canby, M.D., F.A.C.C.; Rodney P. Horton M.D.; G. Joseph Gallinghouse, M.D.; Larry D. Price, D.O.; Javier E. Sanchez, M.D.; and Jason D. Zagrodzky, M.D.
|SOURCE Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute|
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