Atrial Fibrillation Treatment
Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, is the most common heart rhythm condition in people age 65 and older and it affects more than 2.6 million Americans. Franciscan Health offers patients a full spectrum of treatment for atrial fibrillation.
A Full Spectrum of Expert, Comprehensive Care for Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is often associated with a fluttering feeling in the chest or a sensation that the heart is racing. Untreated, atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and death.
It's a complex disease, one that requires a complex approach to diagnosis and treatment. Franciscan Health has developed a multidisciplinary team to tackle atrial fibrillation cases. Cardiovascular surgeons, electrophysiologists and nurse practitioners together review a patient’s history and cardiac evaluation to develop an individualized care plan. The plan involves advanced diagnostic, interventional and surgical procedures to reach the best possible outcome.
Advanced treatment options for atrial fibrillation
Franciscan Health offers patients a full spectrum of treatment for atrial fibrillation. Because there are many reasons for a-fib, our cardiologists will create a personalized treatment plan for you and monitor how you respond. Your doctor might first try to restore the normal rhythm of your heart with prescribed medications or other treatments, including surgery. Atrial fibrillation treatments include:
- Prescribed medications, including beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and anticoagulants (blood thinners)
- Electrical cardioversion, which uses an electrical shock to get the heart back into normal rhythm
- Pacemaker therapy, involving the placement of a device under the skin that monitors heart rate and sends stimulating electrical impulses if the heart rate slows too much
- Catheter ablation, involving a catheter that directs heat or another energy form onto the tissue responsible for creating the irregular heartbeat
- Surgical options, including a Maze or mini-Maze procedure, which eliminates the abnormal rhythm by scarring or cutting the heart tissue responsible for it
What is atrial fibrillation (A-fib)?
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly. The chambers often beat at such a high rate that the heart cannot pump blood effectively. This can cause blood to pool in the chambers and form clots, which might increase stroke as much as five times and can contribute to heart failure and other heart conditions. The longer you wait for diagnosis and treatment, the more atrial fibrillation progresses and becomes increasingly difficult to treat. If you have any reason to believe you may have this condition, see a specialist.
How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
- Electrocardiogram, or EKG. With this painless, non-invasive test, electrodes placed on your chest track your heart rhythm.
- Electrophysiological tests. These tests “map” the electrical system of the heart. They are performed in our catheterization laboratories and may take a few hours. These minimally invasive tests use sensors inserted into blood vessels that lead to your heart to identify what areas of the heart are not working properly.