Remember your heart this Valentine’s Day!

Is your heart skipping a beat this Valentine’s Day? It could be love … or it could be atrial fibrillation. Also know as a-fib, atrial fibrillation is a condition in which abnormal electrical signals in the heart’s upper chambers cause the heart to flutter, quiver or shake, rather than beat steadily. The irregular beating results in the pooling of blood in the heart’s chambers, which can lead to blood clots. If the clots travel to the brain, stroke can result.

Since February is Heart Month, Bridgeport Hospital has launched “Ring for Your Rhythm,” a campaign that provides education about a-fib and stroke prevention.

Callers to the toll-free number, 1-855-BH-PULSE (1-855-247-8573), are connected to a one-minute message recorded by cardiologist Dr. Gilead Lancaster who provides them with instructions on how to take their pulse. If callers detect an irregular heartbeat, they are urged to contact their primary care physician. They can press zero at anytime during the call to be connected to a live operator for further information or a referral to a Bridgeport Hospital physician.

Lancaster, the hospital’s director of non-invasive cardiology, said a-fib is a condition that too few people know enough about.  “It’s a little like blood pressure, where you don’t have any knowledge that it’s doing you harm until something bad happens,” he said. “We felt like this was important enough to make people more aware of.”

Amanda Cuda