Dr. Michael Luong is a UBC clinical assistant professor and a member of the UBC Division of Cardiology. He has privileges at St. Paul’s Hospital, Mount St Joseph’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital.

Atrial Fibrillation And The Link To Having A Stroke

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat, also called an arrhythmia, that can increase your risk of heart failure, stroke, blood clots and other heart conditions. A normal heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat, but if you have atrial fibrillation, the atria (upper chambers) beat out of sync with the ventricles (lower chambers). This can cause blood to pool in your atria, causing blood clots that travel to your brain and cause a stroke.

What is Heart Failure?

Broadly speaking, heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood and oxygen to our organs and tissues. The heart only does two things: it pumps, and it relaxes. So any dysfunction in the pumping function or the relaxing function can result in heart failure.

What is Brugada Syndrome?

Brugada Syndrome is a delay in the signal in the front of the heart. When we do an EKG, we can see or record this delay, and it catches our attention because it’s unusual.
It’s something that’s seen more often in men, and it’s seen more often in Asians. You cannot really feel Brugada Syndrome, unless that EKG is associated with something that leads to a fainting spell or a seizure. The abnormal heart rhythm is what you feel, not the actual Brugada EKG.

Most patients with Brugada have no symptoms, feel well, and won’t ever have a problem. Occasionally patients with Brugada – this delayed signal – will lead to an abnormal heart rhythm. That abnormal heart rhythm can cause the person to faint, it can cause them to have a seizure, they can collapse and they can even die suddenly, most often at rest or in their sleep.

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