10 Atrial Fibrillation Facts That May Surprise You


September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. To help spread the word, presents these 10 afib facts and figures, a few of which will probably surprise even some healthcare professionals:

 1. Afib affects lots of people. Currently as many as 5.1 million people are affected by afib — and that’s just in America. By 2050, the number of people in the United States with afib may increase to as many as 15.9 million. About 350,000 hospitalizations a year in the U.S. are attributed to afib. In addition, people over the age of 40 have a one in four chance of developing afib in their lifetime.

2. Afib is a leading cause of strokes. Nearly 35 percent of all afib patients will have a stroke at some time. In addition to leaving sufferers feeling weak, tired or even incapacitated, afib can allow blood to pool in the atria, creating blood clots, which may move throughout the body, causing a stroke. To make matters worse, afib strokes are fatal nearly three times as often as other strokes within the first 30 days. And according to a recent American Heart Association survey, only half of afib patients understand that they have an increased risk of stroke.

3. The U.S. Congress recognizes the need for more afib awareness. along with several other professional and patient organizations asked Congress to make September Afib Month. On September 11, 2009, the U.S. Senate declared it National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month.

4. Barry Manilow has afib. Recently, Manilow spoke to Congress about afib, urging the House of Representatives to pass House Resolution 295, which seeks to raise the priority of afib in the existing research and education funding allocation process. The resolution does not seek any new funding. Other celebs with afib include NBA legend Jerry West and Helmut Huber, the husband of daytime TV star Susan Lucci.

5. Healthcare professionals often minimize the impact of afib on patients. According to recent research in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, “Compared with coronary artery disease and heart failure, afib is not typically seen by clinicians as a complex cardiac condition that adversely affects quality of life. Therefore, clinicians may minimize the significance of afib to the patient and may fail to provide the level of support and information needed for self-management of recurrent symptomatic afib.”

6. Afib patients may go untreated. Afib can fly under the radar as some patients don’t have symptoms and some may only have symptoms once in a while. Thus, patients may go for a year or two undiagnosed, and sometimes not be diagnosed until after they have a stroke or two. Because some health care professionals perceive that afib doesn’t affect patients’ everyday lives, a common approach is to just allow patients to live with the condition. But…

7. The quicker the treatment, the greater the chance afib can be stopped. For those who have afib, information about the ailment and treatment options are imperative. The longer someone has afib, the more likely they will convert from intermittent to constant afib, which means it’s more difficult to stop or cure.

8. Afib changes the heart. Over time, afib changes the shape and size of the heart, altering the heart’s structure and electrical system. Research at the University of Utah shows that this scarring (fibrosis) from long-term remodeling is correlated with strokes.

9. Treatments continue to rapidly evolve. For years, the standard treatment for afib patients was to send them home with medications, some of which caused harm. Now there are additional options for stopping afib, including minimally invasive ablation procedures performed inside and outside the heart. For stubborn and long-lasting afib, open-heart surgery may provide a cure.

10. You can make a difference in an afib patient’s life. This month, forward a link to someone you may know who could have the condition. Attend an afib awareness raising event or webinar. Or share the site with some patients. Something as simple as that can help someone become free of afib.

For more information on atrial fibrillation visit and


  1. I have been studying the role of fibrosis in chronic Afib. Has anyone had any success with fibrinolytic enzymes? If so what is the best way to administer them?

  2. I have had afib since age 29 and am currently 68. It did change my heart to the point where I ended up w/ heart failure about 7 years ago.

    I read about a natural cure for afib a year or so ago, a plant of some sort from half way around the world. Has anyone had any luck with any natural remedies. Dr. Bruce West (DC) claims to have “helped” more than 10,000 arrhythmia patients with a protocol published in his “Encyclopedia of Pragmatic and Holistic Medicine.” Anyone familiar with this protocol?

    • What is the name of the plant that helps Atrial Fibillation?

      • I just read a report on a Chinese plant Wenxin Keli listed as “atrial-selective inhibition of sodium-channel current Wenxin Keli is effective in suppressing atrial fibrillation…it was on the NIH.GOV pubmed site.

        • Hi Richard. I have had afib for about 6-7 years. I am almost 63. I see a nutritionist and also take 150 mg of flecainide twice a day. I also read about potassium levels and sodium levels and the importance of the 2. My potassium level was very low and sodium high. I drink about 24 oz. of V8 juice low sodium a day. I keep the levels of potassium around 3500 mg a day and sodium 1500-2000 mg a day. I have not had an afib episode since May 2014. I thank God for that. Just an FYI.

          • I had an open heart surgery in June, 2016 to replace aortic valve with animal tissue. It is healing well. However, before this surgery I had hypertesnion and during the exmination I was diagnosed aortic regitation, which became necessary to repalce it.
            Afib was diagnosed not pre operation but post operation.
            I read here and there that there is natural cure for A-fib but I have met any pt with a testimony that he/she has been cured naturally. I wonder if your expereince may she differerent light. I will be very intrested to hear from you.

    • have you tried an Ablation?

      • I heard they don’t like to perform an ablation once you get over 50, because it may damage too much of the heart, and lead to a pacemaker.

        • I have a friend who is over 90 who has had ablation, so don’t know about this?

        • I am 58 I had an oblation last week

        • A co-worker of mine is 68 and had an ablation last month. He’s doing great.

  3. Great Information. Thank you.


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