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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are some of the complications associated with atrial fibrillation other than Heart Failure?

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    Dr David O'Donnell

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    A graduate of the University of Melbourne Medical School in 1993, Dr David O’Donnell was the recipient of 9 undergraduate awards including the Association of … View Profile

    The most common complication that we worry about with atrial fibrillation is the risk of having a stroke. When you're in atrial fibrillation, the top chamber of the heart contracts irregularly and inefficiently and this can lead to pooling of blood and the development of blood clots. If one of those blood clots was to flick off, it can either go to the brain and cause a stroke, or it can go down to the limbs and cause some gangrene of the peripheries.

    On top of that, we've got to remember that atrial fibrillation can often cause symptoms. Patients with atrial fibrillation often have problems when they're exercising and begin to limit their exercise, put on weight, and develop all the problems associated with that.

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