Familial atrial fibrillation

What is the long-term outlook for people with familial atrial fibrillation?

The long-term outlook (prognosis) for a person with familial atrial fibrillation (AF) varies depending on the type of atrial fibrillation the person has, as well as whether another underlying heart condition or disease is present. Generally, affected people can live normal, active lives, but ongoing medical care is important.While a person does not die from AF itself, a person can die from complications that result from having AF. The main risks in affected people are stroke and heart failure. AF is also associated with an increased risk of a first myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Many people with familial AF are said to have 'lone AF' - a term that describes AF in people younger than age 60 with no underlying heart disease. The prognosis is reportedly very good in people with lone AF. However, other cardiovascular risk factors, such as age, diabetes, hypertension, and prior stroke, can further increase the risk of stroke.

Other complications that may be associated with AF include adverse hemodynamics, reduced exercise tolerance, degraded quality of life, impaired cognition or dementia, and tachycardia- induced cardiomyopathy.

Generally, while there is conflicting evidence in younger people with no underlying heart abnormalities, AF is associated with reduced life expectancy in older affected people. In some cases, anti-arrhythmic drugs appear to contribute to increased mortality.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might familial atrial fibrillation be treated?

We are unaware of treatment recommendations specific to familial atrial fibrillation, but there is information available about treatment for atrial fibrillation in general.

Treatment for atrial fibrillation depends on the frequency and severity of symptoms and may involve medications, medical procedures, and lifestyle changes. People who don't have symptoms or related heart problems may not need treatment. The main goals of treatment include:

  • Preventing blot clots and lowering risk of stroke. This may involve blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, dabigatran, heparin, and aspirin.
  • Controlling the rate of contractions of the ventricles (rate control). This may involve medications to restore the heart rate to a normal level, such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and digitalis.
  • Restoring a normal heart rhythm (rhythm control). This is typically for people who don't do well with rate control treatment, or for people who recently began having symptoms. Rhythm control may involve medications or procedures and is usually begun in a hospital for monitoring. Procedures may include cardioversion, catheter ablation, or maze surgery.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Name: American Heart Association 7272 Greenville Avenue
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Name: The Children's Heart Foundation PO Box 244
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Phone: 847-634-6474 Toll Free: 888-248-8140 Email: info@childrensheartfoundation.org Url: http://www.childrensheartfoundation.org/
Name: Heart Rhythm Society 1400 K Street, NW Suite 500
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Phone: 202-464-3400 Fax : 202-464-3401 Email: info@HRSonline.org Url: http://www.hrsonline.org/
Name: Heart Failure Society of America HFSA 6707 Democracy Blvd. Suite 925
Bethesda, MD, 20817, United States
Phone: 301-312-8635 Toll Free: 888-213-4417 Email: info@hfsa.org Url: http://www.hfsa.org/

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