Certain arrhythmias may increase your risk of developing conditions such as:

  • Stroke. When your heart quivers, it's unable to pump blood effectively, which can cause blood to pool. This can cause blood clots to form. If a clot breaks loose, it can travel to and obstruct a brain artery, causing a stroke. This may damage a portion of your brain or lead to death. For people who have atrial fibrillation, the medications warfarin (Coumadin) or dabigatran (Pradaxa) or rivaroxaban (Xarelto) may help prevent blood clots, which can cause a stroke.
  • Heart failure. This can result if your heart is pumping ineffectively for a prolonged period due to a bradycardia or tachycardia, such as atrial fibrillation. Sometimes controlling the rate of an arrhythmia that's causing heart failure can improve your heart's function.
Feb. 27, 2013