Atrial fibrillation in sickle cell disease patients occurs when the heart’s upper chambers (atria) beat out of coordination or improperly with the lower chambers (ventricles).
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular, recurrent rapid heart rate that commonly causes a poor flow of blood in the body and around the body. Atrial fibrillation is associated with an irregular heart rate that is also rapid or slow (the term is heart arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots in the heart.
Photo Credit: The Stem Cellar
In sickle cell disease patients, atrial fibrillation increases the risk of a stroke occurrence, heart failure, and other heart related complications. The normal human heart has is divided into two sides with four chambers, the two sides are said to be the upper chambers (the atria), and the lower chambers (the ventricles), which rhythms are in sync.
Photo Credit: News Medical
And in sickle cell disease patients with a developed cases of atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers (the atria) beat out of sync in rhythm with the lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. The episodes of atrial fibrillation in patients with sickle cell disease are either persistent, or occasional (they come and go), or long-standing persistent, or permanent.
Photo Credit: Mayo Clinic
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation may not occur in an early stage in some cases, but when it does the signs then includes; a fast, pounding heart rate (also the term heart palpitations), shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, and weakness. However, atrial fibrillation in itself is not a life-threatening situation, but it needs treatment and proper management to prevent a stroke from occurring in patients.
Photo Credit: Catheter Ablation for AFib
Treatment for atrial fibrillation may include medications that cause the upper chambers and the lower chambers to sync in rhythm, therapy to reset the heart rhythm, and catheter procedures that help to block faulty heart signals. A sickle cell disease patient with atrial fibrillation may also have a related heart problem called atrial flutter.
Photo Credit: Cleveland Clinic
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