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2nd of 3 parts reviewing Atrial fibrillation - this week - Causes and types of AF

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Atrial fibrillation  Part 2


Instead of steady and regular electrical impulses, with AF, electrical impulses fire irregularly and randomly. These disorganized impulses cause the atria to quiver or twitch (fibrillate) instead of a steady smooth beat. This means the atria cannot efficiently pump blood into the ventricles.


Causes of AF

  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Damaged heart muscle
  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Pericarditis
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart or other major surgery


Certain activities or lifestyle can trigger atrial fibrillation including binging on alcohol, physical or mental stress, obesity, excessive caffeine, smoking and illegal drugs. AF can be associated with other conditions like asthma, diabetes, lung problems and severe infections (e.g.) pneumonia.


Types of AF


The four subtypes of atrial fibrillation are classified by the frequency atrial fibrillation occurs and how well it responds to treatment and include:


  1. Paroxysmal AF

This is characterized with a brief episode of AF known as a “paroxysm” of AF. This brief episode of AF may be symptomless and go unknown by the patient or the patient can experience anything from mild to severe symptoms. It usually subsides within 24 hours but can last up to a week. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation can repeatedly occur


  1. Persistent AF

Persistent atrial fibrillation is where the arrhythmia lasts more than a week. While it may stop on its own without intervention, most often treatment is needed to stop arrhythmias.

  1. Long-term persistent AF

With this type of AF, arrhythmias longer than a year.

  1. Permanent atrial fibrillation

Despite treatment with medication and other options, there is occasions where atrial fibrillation is resistant to treatment and becomes permanent.


Booster Vaccine

If you have atrial fibrillation, you may be at more risk from COVID-19. Ask your doctor if you are eligible for the second Covid 19 booster. Whelehans Pharmacy Pearse St have a weekly walk-in clinic for Covid-19 boosters. Call 0449334591 for more.


BPro Cardio Screen Service

Measures artery stiffness to identify risk of blockages and cardiovascular and circulatory disease. BPRo is placed like a watch on your wrist and is pain free. A pulse wave reads and calculates a wave signal that indicates the elasticity of large, small, and peripheral artery walls as well as tests for stress, central blood pressure, heart rate, and more. It is now €35 (was €50); it only takes about 15 minutes. The next clinic is Saturday July 30th (from 9am to 5pm) at Whelehans Pearse St. Book online on Whelehans Website or call 04493 34591.

To be continued…next week


Disclaimer: BPro Cardio is not an alternative to medical assessment; it can indicate risk of cardiovascular events but is not a diagnosis

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore) or

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