Harvard Heart Letter

Living with AFib

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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