“I Gotta Guy” with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

Increasing cases of Atrial Fibrillation, also known as AFib, are being diagnosed every year. Therefore, you will likely see more clients with a history of AFib. We as field underwriters should be prepared to recognize AFib, symptoms, and types of treatment.

AFib is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. During AFib, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles). Simply stated, AFib is the heart being out of normal rhythm.

Signs of AFib may be racing heartbeat, heart palpitations, fluttering in the chest, chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue when exercising. Of course trained medical personnel would make the final diagnosis. AFib is usually determined by an electrocardiogram and other cardiac testing. Having AFib increases the chances of having a stroke by five times over not having an AFib diagnosis. This is why it is important to have wellness exams or to seek treatment when signs and symptoms appear.

Atrial Fibrillation can occur in several patterns:

  • Intermittent (paroxysmal). The heart spontaneously returns to normal rhythm. The episodes may last from seconds to days.
  • Persistent. The arrhythmia (rhythm) does not convert to normal without medical treatment or cardioconversion (electrical treatment).
  • Permanent. The heart is always in AFib. This may be treated in multiple ways, including surgical intervention such as implanting a pacemaker or defibrillator to maintain normal rhythm.

These forms of AFib are commonly referred to as mild, moderate, and chronic, respectively.

Medications often seen for treatment of Atrial Fibrillation include:

  • Rythmol
  • Cordarone
  • Pacerone
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Digoxin (or Lanoxin)
  • Dofetilide
  • Blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin), Eliquis, Plavix, aspirin and other medications to prevent blood clot formation.

The main objective is to convert the heart into a normal rhythm. This is often documented for medical and underwriting purposes by reviewing all electrocardiograms during and after AFib diagnosis.

For more information on Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), two good resources are the American Heart Association website  and the Mayo Clinic website.

Potential impact on underwriting

Cases in which the insured applicant has mild AFib with well-documented control of the condition may be considered for Standard to Table Two. After two years we may also see the chronic or hard-to-control AFib cases ranging from Table Five to decline.

This is why you should try to obtain all the medical information possible in order to obtain the best offer possible and the policy delivered to the client in the faster possible time frame. Utilize the underwriting and case processing services of the CreativeOne Life Team to help you find the best policy for your AFib cases.

Check out previous articles in the “I Gotta Guy” series:


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