BOB L. SHEPHERD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BOB L. SHEPHERD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Atrial fibrillation. Illustration of the heart depicted abstractly as a planet superimposed on a starfield. On the surface of the atrial chambers of the heart are bolts of electricity reminiscent of an electrical storm, which symbolises the electrical nerve impulses that cause rapid and chaotic beating of the heart when it fibrillates. Fibrillation may affect the atrial chambers or the ventricles independently. Atrial fibrillation is a common type of arrhythmia which results in rapid and irregular heart and pulse rates. The main causes are atherosclerosis, rheumatic and hyper- tensive heart disease. When ventricular fibril- lation occurs, the heart stops beating.
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