People with atrial fibrillation are most commonly treated with long-term use of blood-thinning medications to reduce the risk of a stroke. But a newly approved device now being implanted by physicians at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center offers many of those patients hope that they may be able to discontinue use of blood-thinners.
"Atrial Fibrillation: What You and Your Family Should Know," a community education program from Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute, will be offered at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the University Conference Center on the Penn State Hershey Medical Center campus.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the United States and affects 2 to 4 million Americans. It is usually a disease of aging, however it can affect people of all ages -- 1 percent of people under age 60 and 10 percent of all people over age 80 have AF.
At different moments -- excitement, shock, or surprise -- one may feel his heartbeat slow down, speed up, or skip a beat. Any change in the normal rhythmic pattern of the heartbeat is referred to as an arrhythmia. These irregularities may be harmful or life-threatening, depending on the frequency and length.