blood goes into your atria. atria is the plural of atrium. you have 2 of them, these are 2 of the 4 chambers of your heart. the atrium pumps blood into your ventricles, and it's the ventricles that do the BIG work. atria fill ventricles, ventricles pump blood to your body.
as i remember it, right atrium pumps blood to right ventricle, right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs. blood returns from the lungs oxygenated, goes into the left atrium, is pumped to the left ventricle, then, whoosh, out it goes to the body. so the pa-bumb you hear when you listen to a heart beat is the left atrium (pa), then left ventricle (bump) or, in the case of an athlete, (bump!)
atrial fibrillation is when that "pa" isn't a pa but a pppp brrr ppp. literally mixed signals. it's like your flush toilet. the tank fills the bowl, then the bowl goes "whoosh". right after you flush, if you don't let the talk fill and you try to flush again, you don't get much whoosh. atrial fibrillation is like when you try to flush when the bowl hasn't yet sufficiently filled. you feel tired, you feel like you have sickle cell anemia. your tank (atrium) isn't filling your bowl (ventricle) so you don't get a good flush of blood throughout your body.
atrial fibrillation is not going to kill you, but it's a big annoyance. it's not a life killer, but it is a lifestyle killer. i'm 58, and i had my biggest troubles with a-fib when i was about 50. but i was living like the devil. i was pushing the throttle to the floor in every workout, drinking a man-sized homemade margarita every night, building this property every morning (i had just bought and moved onto the compound a few years earlier).
during WWII, doctors noticed a big spike in a-fib and it was soldiers on leave, drinking, partying, no sleep, 3-day binges. a-fib can be a permanent fixture in one's life, or it might be transitory and if you understand and can identify your triggers then it goes away. i have very few a-fib problems now, because i very rarely drink, i very closely watch my sleep, and i don't ever go really deep in workouts.
for those who have an a-fib problem that won't go away, there are a number of therapies, one of which is ablation, which is an invasive but non-surgical way of "shocking" the heart, trying to kill the offending part of the heart that's causing the arrhythmia. but there are other treatments being tested, such as enervating the pharyngeal nerve in the back of the throat, and if you've read what i wrote about pickle juice (front page) you'll see that this vaso-vagal reflex is really interesting.
but to the point of the velonews article, it's not just a-fib. it's also v-tach, i.e., ventricular tachycardia, and this is what sidelined greg welch. when you have an arrhythmia in your atria, that's annoying. when you have one in your ventricles, this is in the same family as a heart attack.
we will be writing more about this in the future on slowtwitch.
What an incredibly articulate and intelligent reply. Thank you for putting this into such easily comprehended terms (not withstanding the correction from other poster).
“Bloom wherever you are planted"