FAQ: Is Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Dangerous?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is atrial fibrillation (A-fib) dangerous?

Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is the author of a popular blog and podcast at BetterHealthWhileAging.net. She is also a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics.

Atrial fibrillation, also called A-fib, can cause potentially life-threatening health problems, including stroke and heart failure.

In most cases, dangerous complications of A-fib can be avoided with proper medical management. This includes use of blood-thinning medication to prevent stroke, as well as monitoring and medication to avoid a too-high heart rate (which can lead to heart failure).

Note that although A-fib is the most common arrhythmia, it's not the type of arrhythmia that causes sudden cardiac arrests.