Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, often referred to as A-fib or AF, is the most common heart rhythm abnormality. It occurs when the electrical signals that control the heart are abnormal and the heartbeat becomes irregular. As a result of this abnormality, the atria stops pumping blood effectively, blood pools in certain areas and blood clots can form. These blood clots can travel through the blood vessels to the brain causing a stroke.

Atrial fibrillation can be controlled by reducing caffeine intake, controlling blood pressure, limiting alcohol consumption to a drink or two, treating an overactive thyroid, and getting regular exercise.

While there may be no symptoms from atrial fibrillation, patients that do experience symptoms that may be:
• Irregular heart beats
• Chest tightness
• Lightheadedness
• dizziness
• Trouble breathing

Atrial fibrillation is usually diagnosed with an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). Other tests may include some blood tests looking for thyroid or liver problems, an echocardiogram, an ultrasound picture of the heart looking at the heart’s pumping function and checking the heart valves out. Also, a stress test may be performed to check the heart’s circulation.

Treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Medications to control the heart rate or speed of the heart
  • Blood thinners to prevent blood clots from forming in the heart and to prevent strokes
  • Cardioversion – an electric shock to the heart to fix or restore a normal heartbeat
  • Atrial fibrillation ablation using either radiofrequency or cold to destroy the abnormal tissue in the heart that is causing the atrial fibrillation
  • Pacemakers
  • Surgery to create scar tissues to block the flow of the electrical signals (Maze Procedure)
Many people are able to live a normal life with atrial fibrillation, although it is very important for them to take their medications to control the heart rate and to prevent strokes.

Windward Vein, Heart, Medispa