By clj01 Latest Reply 2011-05-16 22:58:40 -0500
Started 2011-05-15 14:16:19 -0500

Another question then. What part does hyper or hypokalemia (pottasium), and hyper or hyponatremia (sodium) play in atrial fibrillation? Are they contributing factors, or direct causes?

1 reply

HeartHawk 2011-05-16 22:58:40 -0500 Report


I guess the best answer is "all of the above." Anything that affects electrolyte homeostatis (balance) has the potential to negatively affect the electrical systems of the heart. Here is a layman's overview.

Sodium, potassium and calcium ions (electrically charged particles) have the most profound effect. An excess of sdium or potassium ions will slow the heart down (hypernatremia and hyperkalemia). Conversely a severe reduction in sodium potassium ions can speed the heart up (hyponatremia and hypokaelmia).

Since sodium competes with the calcium ions that are responsible for heart cpontractions, a low sodium can create potentially deadly rapid heart rate as the calcium ions are left unchecked.


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