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Atrial Fibrillation Stops on Its Own

Published: October 22, 2009

Q: After having atrial fibrillation (AF) for nine years, I woke up one morning and my heartbeat was normal. An EKG showed no problem, not even a skip. Does this happen very often? To me, it was a miracle.

A: What you describe is not common, though it unquestionably happens. Unfortunately, atrial fibrillation generally recurs unless the factors that first produced it are no longer present — for example, a narrowed heart valve is replaced by a prosthetic one, or hypertension that made the heart work harder is now under control. Another factor to consider is that having AF actually changes or “remodels” the atrial heart muscle into tissue more conducive to having AF. However, the reverse is true also.

Having a normal rhythm can help reverse the remodeling and deter future AF recurrences. You are most fortunate, and I hope the normal rhythm continues. Do let me know what happens.

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