Atrial Fibrillation — also known as AFib or AF — is the most common arrhythmia. It affects more than 2.5 million American adults and 4.5 million people living in the European Union, and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.
It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, and debilitating pain.
AFib can also increase the risk of stroke fivefold. It is estimated to be responsible for 88,000 deaths and $16 billion in additional costs to the U.S. healthcare system. As the world population ages, the prevalence of AFib is projected to increase. In fact, in the next 30-40 years, the number of people in diagnosed with AFib in the U.S. is expected to more than double.
The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), through its efforts during Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month in September and throughout the year, is working to increase public knowledge of AFib, including its symptoms, warning signs, and available treatment options.