Mayo Clinic electrophysiologist Fred Kusumoto, M.D., explains what happens in the heart to create atrial fibrillation and what can be done to fix it.
MODERATOR: This is a normal heartbeat. [HEART BEATING] Atrial fibrillation interrupts this regular beat.
FRED KUSUMOTO, M.D.: "In atrial fibrillation, instead of the atria squeezing in a normal regular fashion, the atria beat irregularly and chaotically."
MODERATOR: Dr. Fred Kusumoto is an electrophysiologist at Mayo Clinic.
FRED KUSUMOTO, M.D.: "In some cases people feel their heart palpitating or beating very, very fast or a flip-flop in their heart or chest area. Other times, people just notice that they're more short of breath when they walk upstairs."
MODERATOR: Dr. Kusumoto says atrial fibrillation decreases the heart's blood pumping efficiency and puts a patient at higher risk for blood clots, heart failure, and stroke. In some cases, atrial fibrillation can be corrected with medication or by administering a shock to a sedated patient's heart. In other instances, a procedure called catheter ablation may be used to scar tissue that's creating the erratic signals--[HEART BEATING]-- in the hopes of getting back to that normal beat.