Atrial fibrillation and stroke

Atrial fibrillation is a very rapid, high, and irregular heart rhythm.

It begins in the heart’s upper chambers (atria). A strong research-based scientific study shows a direct connection between atrial fibrillation and stroke.

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to a part of the brain is blocked or choked due to narrowing the blood vessel or obstruction due to a blood clot or bursting of the blood vessel. A stroke due to atrial fibrillation tends to be more severe than a stroke caused by any other underlying health issue or cause.

Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke. Several studies have shown that those who have atrial fibrillation, are at a higher risk of getting a stroke compared to those who don’t have it. According to many experts, the risk is around one in seven stroke cases.

How does a patient with atrial fibrillation get a stroke?

In atrial fibrillation, the heart contracts fast and the contractions are weaker than the normal heart contractions. The flow of blood thus becomes slow in the atrium. The sluggish blood pools leading to the formation of blood clots. When a clot leaves the heart chambers and goes to the brain, it blocks blood flow in the brain’s arteries and causes stroke.

Atrial fibrillation and stroke

The outcomes in patients suffering a stroke due to atrial fibrillation are worse and the complications are also more severe than strokes due to any other underlying causes. Patients who experience stroke due to atrial fibrillation have more disability and greater mortality than those who have ischemic stroke due to other causes.

Bottom Line

A brain stroke is a serious medical condition that needs emergency medical care. If you, or someone you are with have sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding, numbness or weakness in the arms, face, or legs, severe headache, difficulty seeing, dizziness, walking trouble, lack of coordination or balance, seek emergency medical care immediately.