Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance

Little Rock

Dr. Raj Chakka and his team at CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic Arkansas and the Jack Stephens Heart Institute at CHI St. Vincent Infirmary held its first World Afib Awareness Day Event.

The first annual World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day 5K Family Fun Run & Walk was held Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 at the North Shore River Walk in North Little Rock, Ark. “The event is designed to increase awareness about the most common abnormal heart rhythm and promote healthy lifestyles for people living with atrial fibrillation,” said Raj Chakka, M.D., cardiologist & electrophysiologist, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of rapid and abnormal heart rhythms at CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic Arkansas and the Jack Stephens Heart Institute at CHI St. Vincent Infirmary.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) may cause no symptoms, but is often associated with palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting, chest pain or congestive heart failure. Treatments for AFib, to reset the heart rhythm, include oral medications, brief electrical shocks, catheter ablation in which abnormal firing cells are isolated with the use of radiofrequency energy, open heart surgery or artrioventricular (AV) node ablation of the electrical wiring connecting the upper and lower chambers of the heart making patient pacemaker-dependent.

“AFib patients may need to take medication to reduce the risk of blood clots for their entire lives, even after the heart rhythm is restored, to reduce the risk of stroke. AFib patients’ risk for stroke is five times higher than someone without AFib. The rapid heartbeat allows blood to swirl and pool in the top chamber of the heart, which can cause clots to form. If the clot gets dislodged and goes to the brain, it will lead to a stroke,” Chakka said. “But with treatment and a healthy lifestyle AFib patients can have very active lives and can run, bike, swim or do just about any other physical activity.”

Money raised through the AFIB 5K Family Fun Run & Walk will help support public awareness and investigator initiated research.

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