What is Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?

What is Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?

In this post I will be discussing paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, and just as important, what is the significance of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation? This is a question I get from a lot of patients. It's a common thing that people Google to understand what the term means. What does paroxysmal atrial fibrillation mean?

What Does Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Mean?

So first, to define it, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation basically means, atrial fibrillation that comes and goes and that you are not in atrial fibrillation all the time. To be technical, those episodes of atrial fibrillation last less than 7 days. The episodes may stop on their own, or they may stop with medications in order to classify it as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. So, that's why you may see this on some of your paperwork from either your clinic or from a hospital visit, when they list your diagnosis and when they say paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, this is what that means. It is a term that means episodes of AFib that come and go.

What Is The Significance Of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?

But what does that really mean? What is the significance of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation? Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is a stage of atrial fibrillation. This is something that I have discussed several times in the past, about how atrial fibrillation is a disease that can progress. It first starts at paroxysmal, and it progresses to persistent, and then to permanent atrial fibrillation.

With paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, when the episodes come and go, you are in earlier stages in atrial fibrillation. Basically, to think of it that the atrial fibrillation has not yet damaged or affected your heart too much at that point in time. When atrial fibrillation then progresses people then start having persistent atrial fibrillation, which is when it comes and it stays and AFib doesn't want to go away. You have to actually intervene on it with something like a cardioversion or a procedure like an ablation to help get a patient out of atrial fibrillation.

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is one of the earlier stages of atrial fibrillation. The main significance about that is that in the earlier stages of atrial fibrillation is when a patient has the best treatment options available to them. They have better responses from either medications or even procedures such as ablations. In the earliest stages of AFib, you have the best treatment options, as well as the highest success rates.

This is part of the reason why I always emphasize people to get early assessment, such as when atrial fibrillation is still in the paroxysmal stage, with an electrophysiologist because that's when you're going to have your best chances and a higher success rate when it comes to managing atrial fibrillation, whether that be with medications of procedures.

My Final Thoughts:

So, if you have paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, please discuss with your doctor or please consult with an electrophysiologist, if you haven't seen one yet. Because these earlier stages are when you're going to have the best treatment options versus more advanced stages of atrial fibrillation.

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