What is the pathophysiology of atrial fibrillation (Afib) (AF)?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Lawrence Rosenthal, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
  • Print

Although the precise mechanisms that cause atrial fibrillation are incompletely understood, AF appears to require both an initiating event and a permissive atrial substrate. The importance of focal pulmonary vein triggers has been highlighted in multiple studies, but alternative and nonmutually exclusive mechanisms have also been evaluated. [19] These mechanisms include multiple wavelets, mother waves, fixed or moving rotors, and macro-reentrant circuits. [19] In a given patient, multiple mechanisms may coexist at any given time. The automatic focus theory and the multiple wavelet hypothesis appear to have the best supporting data.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!