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Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib)

This arrhythmia is very rare in healthy children. In this condition, multiple sites in the atria fire electrical impulses in a very fast and uncoordinated fashion and, as a result, the walls of the atria begin to quiver. It often causes a sensation of pounding or fluttering in the chest (palpitations). It may also cause shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and lightheadedness. Most people with atrial fibrillation, however, have no symptoms at all.

Treatment depends on the duration of the arrhythmia and associated risk factors such as hypertension, history of a stroke, a fast pulse rate, associated heart defects, heart failure or enlargement. Some patients may be candidates for endocardial ablation.

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