Is There a Relation Between Atrial Fibrillation & Shortness of Breath?

Do you have shortness of breath and also suffer from atrial fibrillation? These two might be related! Shortness of breath is a common symptom associated with AFib, especially when people are experiencing an episode of AFib. So, does AFib cause shortness of breath? The answer is: yes. Keep reading to learn all about it.

How Atrial Fibrillation Causes Shortness Of Breath

Here are some ways shortness of breath can result from Afib:

  • Rapid Heart Rate: People with AFib have elevated heart rates, especially if it is not well-controlled. A little bit of activity can increase the heart rate up to 120, 10 bpm, and even faster than this in some cases. Therefore, with a constant, elevated heart rate, shortness of breath occurs. The feeling is quite similar to exercising since your heart rate increases and you feel out of breath – but AFib makes it constant.
  • Loss of Normal Atrial Contraction: Even if your AFib is under control, shortness of breath can take place. Your atria, or the upper chamber of the heart, is not squeezing properly — it is just quivering. This means your heart loses some of its efficiency, which contributes to shortness of breath. Therefore, the loss of normal atrial contraction can significantly affect heart function and efficiency, resulting in shortness of breath.
  • Elevated Pressure in the Heart or Lungs: When someone is in atrial fibrillation consistently, the pressure inside the heart is elevated compared to people not in atrial fibrillation. Moreover, the pressure transmits to the lungs, which are the nearest organs. This may cause fluid to collect in the lungs, leading to congestive heart failure — which also causes shortness of breath. Your doctor might take an echocardiogram to evaluate the overall function of your heart and the pressure present.

Atrial FibrillationShortness of Breath Treatment

You may have shortness of breath if you constantly experience atrial fibrillation. To treat it, the first thing you should do is visit a doctor to treat atrial fibrillation. This could include taking medications or undergoing procedures such as cardioversion. A catheter ablation procedure also helps get someone out of atrial fibrillation.

While treatments work for some people, others may not be eligible for these procedures. Many times, people end up going back to atrial fibrillation even after treating it. In such instances, it is best to see a rate-controlling medication, like beta-blockers, to control the heart rate. Moreover, controlling the pressure inside the heart with the help of a diuretic medication is also useful in reducing elevated pressure and shortness of breath.

What Should I Do?

Atrial fibrillation can cause shortness of breath due to multiple causes, such as elevated pressure, increased heart rate, and loss of normal atrial contraction. All of these factors can affect your breathing and result in labored breaths.

Atrial Fibrillation Center of America is always here to cater to your needs and get your heart beating right! Dial (832) 478-5067 to call us now or pay us a visit at 13325 Hargrave Rd. Suite 280, Houston, TX 77070.

Schedule Appointment

    This appointment is for

    Skip to content