What is paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (Afib) (AF)?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Lawrence Rosenthal, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Atrial fibrillation is considered to be recurrent when a patient has two or more episodes. If recurrent AF terminates spontaneously, it is designated as paroxysmal.

Some patients with paroxysmal AF, typically younger patients, have been found to have distinct electrically active foci within their pulmonary veins. These patients generally have many atrial premature beats noted on Holter monitoring. Isolation or elimination of these foci can lead to elimination of the trigger for paroxysms of AF.

Paroxysmal AF may progress to persistent AF, and aggressive attempts to restore and maintain sinus rhythm may prevent comorbidities associated with AF.

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