Dangers of atrial fibrillation

MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Irregular heart beats called atrial fibrillation can happen to anyone at anytime.

It's one of the issues with the heart that doesn't have strict guidelines.

But if left untreated, many people end up with a stroke, dementia, or heart disease.

In our continued partnership with Inntermountain Medical Center, find out some of the risk factors and why doctors say you can prevent it.
"I didn't think at 43 would have a heart condition," said Lonne Rasmussen.

Rasmussen has atrila fibrillation.

The most common heart arrhythmia or unregulated heart rhythm took its toll on him.

Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute Director of Heart Rhythm Services Doctor John Day says atrial fibillation goes hand-in-hand obesity.

But even after lifestyle changes, Rasmussen needed surgery.

"They go into the heart with scopes and intravenously and they isolate the areas that's causing the misfire and they cauterize it," said Rasmussen.

"With catherization we try to map out where in the heart those abnormal electrical signals are coming from and therefore cauterize those areas. Therefore forcing the heart to hold a normal rhythm," said Day.

While the obese are most at risk, other people are not exempt including phsyically fit athletes and even teenagers. So the key is getting treated early.

"As there is more scarring for the upper chamber of the heart, then it becomes more difficult to treat," said Day.

Ignoring an irregular heart beat increases your risk of stroke five times, doubles your risk of heart failure and doubles the change you'll develop demenita or Alzheimer's.

That's all according to research done at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Instittute, but you can reverse the condition.

"This is something that if it can be caught early most cases can be cured. It's often a combination of treatment whether it be medication, procedure, or even lifestyle changes," said Day.

"I've lost 80 pounds plus the surgery. and iIthink its the combination of those things than just the procedure," said Rasmussen.

More Stories

Don't Miss

Latest News

Video Center