The cardiac arrhythmia atrial fibrillation is one of the biggest risk factors for developing strokes. However, cardiac arrhythmias usually occur at irregular intervals, and can therefore only be detected in the moment they are happening.
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Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and can only be detected when it occurs. It is characterized by a markedly accelerated, constantly irregular heartbeat. When atrial fibrillation occurs, the atria can no longer properly support the heart chambers during pumping. As a result, the heart does not empty completely and blood remains in the atria, where it can form clots. These clots can enter the brain and trigger a stroke.
Signs of atrial fibrillation are often unspecific, such as palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pain. Up to 30 % of the people who suffer from atrial fibrillation do not feel any symptoms at all.