In atrial fibrillation, the heart quivers when it should be beating and blood pools when it should be pumping through the body. Strokes occur when the pooled blood thickens and a blood clot travels to the brain. People with atrial fibrillation may need to take a blood thinner (anticoagulant) to prevent clots. Another strategy for clot prevention is a procedure called left atrial appendage closure, which seals off a pocket of the heart where blood clots tend to form. Treatments for AFib include medications to control the heart’s rate or rhythm or a procedure called pulmonary vein ablation.
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