Mechanism of development of atrial fibrillation in chest infections

Chest infections can cause atrial fibrillation in 3 ways:

  • By inducing a stress response which increases the sympathetic tone
    • Increased sympathetic tone can precipitate atrial fibrillation (AF)
  • Hypoxia leading to increased pulmonary resistance
    • This results in pulmonary hypertension and atrial dilatation
    • Atrial dilatation can lead to AF
  • Direct involvement of the atria

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