Solitary AF: what is it?

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Solitary atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that occurs without underlying heart conditions. It can cause increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Two types were identified, and triggers include caffeine, alcohol, and stress. Treatment includes medication and lifestyle changes.

Solitary atrial fibrillation, or LAF, is a type of atrial fibrillation that usually occurs in the absence of any underlying or current heart conditions. Atrial fibrillation is considered the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, but as many as 70% of these cases occur due to an underlying heart disease. Lone atrial fibrillation causes your heart rate to increase dramatically and can also cause shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, increased urination, and fatigue. Episodes generally last from two hours to seven days. Several factors can contribute to the development of the disease or trigger an episode of solitary atrial fibrillation.

Two main types of solitary atrial fibrillation were identified by Dr. Philippe Coumel, a French cardiologist. Solitary vagal atrial fibrillation usually affects men between the ages of 40 and 50. Episodes may be more likely during periods of relaxation, in the evening, immediately after eating or drinking alcohol. Long adrengeric atrial fibrillation usually occurs only during daylight hours and often follows physical activity or stress. Adrenergic LAF is most often accompanied by increased urination.

Some people who experience a solitary atrial fibrillation episode may have only one episode and never have symptoms again. For others, symptoms may recur intermittently. Some patients have fewer than one episode a year, while others may have them much more often. LAF can be more common in men than in women and can occur due to hyperthyroidism. Treatment Hyperthyroidism usually resolves the symptoms of LAF for these patients.

Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can trigger an episode of LAF. Symptoms are known to occur after consuming chocolate, red wine, cheese, bananas, and yogurt. Problems with blood electrolyte levels, especially inappropriate levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium, can trigger episodes of solitary atrial fibrillation.

Patients who require emergency medical attention during an episode of LAF may be given drugs such as diltiazem, digitalis, or propranolol to lower the heart rate. Beta-blockers such as flecainide may be prescribed to prevent episodes of LAF in some patients. Some patients use flecainide to stop an episode of LAF after it has started.

Diet and lifestyle changes can also help patients control their symptoms. Researchers believe that removing alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners from the diet could be beneficial for many patients. Magnesium, potassium, or taurine supplements have benefited some patients. Others have found that treating food allergies and underlying digestive conditions can improve symptoms of LAF. Surgical procedures are also sometimes used to correct solitary atrial fibrillation, but these surgeries are considered completely effective in only about 60% of patients.

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