Researchers behind this study are now advocating more frequent screenings of the most vulnerable groups.
Atrial fibrillation is something young people talk about. If you’re over 65 years of age though, you may be familiar with the term. It refers to an irregular heart beat that can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure and so if you doctor talks about it, they mean business.
As you grow older your chances of developing it increase. And a new study has shown that if you suffer from congenital heart disease, you’re much more likely to develop it. Patients in this category are 85 times more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, a study done at the University of Gothenburg found. High numbers!
“We need to identify those who have the most increased risk of complications,” said Zacharias Mandalenakis, cardiology researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, and cardiology consultant at Sahlgrenska university hospital.
By cross-checking data from the patient register, the cause of death register and the total population register, researchers managed to identify 21,982 people with congenital heart disease, born in 1970-1993.
What can patients do to protect themselves? Exercise considerably, to stay healthy, experts say. Stay in solid contact with your doctor and if you ever experience breathlessness or heart palpitations, seek immediate professional help.