A Answers (2)
Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredIf your heart flutters every time you see Gerard Butler or Megan Fox, relax. That’s not atrial fibrillation. However, some people develop a form of “a-fib” that does indeed come and go, but it lasts more than a few seconds. It’s called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Your heart starts to bump and grind like Elvis in a crazy way, but it lasts for a few minutes or up to a few hours every now and then before returning to normal rhythm. If you have occasional heart palpitations, tell your doctor. And if you ever experience chest pain, heaviness, and significant shortness of breath, call 911 immediately.
Douglas Severance, Family Medicine, answeredIn some people, atrial fibrillation comes and goes. For instance, they may experience irregular and fast heartbeats, but by the time they get to the doctor's office, their heart rhythms are normal again. This type of atrial fibrillation is called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. In other cases, people have atrial fibrillation all the time, and no treatment can get the heartbeat back into a regular rhythm.
Atrial fibrillation may be an acute or short-term condition, or it may become a chronic or permanent problem with the heart's electrical system.
Keep in mind that your heart rate slows with aging. For many people with atrial fibrillation, its annoying and interrupting symptoms may lessen with age. Also, different medications and newer treatments may control irregular heart rhythm and calm the symptoms. Still, there are situations when atrial fibrillation cannot be treated with medications and the irregular heart rhythm is permanent.