Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heart rhythm in which the upper chambers of the heart do not beat normally and can lead to serious heart conditions, including stroke. This condition causes your heart’s upper chambers, or atria, to beat out of sync with the lower chambers, or ventricles. AFib can make you feel as if your heart is fluttering or skipping a beat.
AFib can be detected during a routine physical exam, when your doctor listens to your heart with a stethoscope. To confirm the diagnosis of AFib, your doctor may order additional tests, which may include:
An ECG is a quick and painless test that measures the electrical activity of your heart using electrodes placed on your chest. This will show doctors whether your heart is beating normally.
This is a small, battery-operated device that is attached to your chest with an adhesive patch and worn continuously for 24 hours or longer. The monitor records the electrical activity of your heart during this time.
Treatment for AFib is unique based on a patient’s needs, and may include AFib medications, cardioversion, and ablation procedures.
A combination of medications and blood thinners may be used to help return your heart’s rhythm to normal and reduce the risk of blood clots.
During this procedure, a controlled electrical shock is delivered to your heart. The shock disrupts the electrical pulses causing the irregular heartbeat and restores the heart’s normal rhythm.
Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure. Your doctor guides thin wires or catheters through a blood vessel in your groin to reach your heart. Targeted energy is used to treat the heart tissue so that it no longer beats out of rhythm.
The Cox-maze procedure is performed during open-heart surgery or with minimally invasive techniques with a small incision in the right chest. Your cardiac surgeon uses a scalpel to scar heart tissue, and removes the left atrial appendage as part of the procedure.
The left atrial appendage is an area in the left upper chamber of the heart where blood clots often form when patients experience atrial fibrillation. Left atrial occlusion uses a permanent self-expanding device to seal off the heart’s left atrial appendage, preventing blood clots from causing a stroke.
The AHN Atrial Fibrillation Program offers state-of-the-art medical and interventional therapies to treat atrial fibrillation so you can stay healthy and enjoy a better quality of life. Our dedicated team of cardiac electrophysiologists, nurses, and advanced practice providers work to provide a customized treatment plan, including the latest medical management and minimally invasive surgical procedures.
To improve your quality of life, your atrial fibrillation care team works with other multispecialty programs including:
A lack of restful sleep can affect your healing and well-being. The AHN Center for Sleep Medicine provides complete care for a wide range of sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Services include sleep studies, the latest treatments, and ongoing care to help you reclaim a good night’s rest faster.
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for your heart. The Bariatric and Metabolic Institute is committed to providing patient-centered care to help you achieve your health and weight loss goals.
Hypertension is the most common condition seen in primary care and is a well-documented disease leading to devastating end-organ damage. When hypertension becomes difficult to control, or resistant, the AHN Comprehensive Hypertension Center uses systematic screening and guideline-directed medical therapy to achieve adequate blood pressure control.
AHN is at the forefront of advanced scientific research on atrial fibrillation and our doctors participate in national and international clinical trials. You can check with your doctor to determine if you may be a candidate in one or more.