What Is Fibrillation? Does It Cause Disability?


I have almost fainted on the job several times recently, and the doctor says I have something called atrial fibrillation. Can I get disability for this?


Atrial fibrillation (called afib for short) is an abnormal heart rhythm that occurs in the upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria. Fibrillation is one type of arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). 

Most individuals who have atrial fibrillation are asymptomatic, but some individuals experience palpitations, fainting, dizziness, chest pain, exercise intolerance, and fatigue. In serious cases, strokes and heart failure can result. Women often suffer a poorer quality of life due to afib than men, and a significant portion of afib patients suffer from depression and anxiety.

Treatment options for individuals who suffer from atrial fibrillation usually involve medication. If medication fails to control atrial fibrillation, physicians will usually use a pacemaker to regulate heart rhythm. 

If medication can control your fainting or near-fainting, you won't be eligible for disability benefits. If not, you might be able to meet the requirements of Social Security's disability listing for arrhythmias, under which the agency evaluates fibrillation.

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