Atrial fibrillation is a common heart rhythm problem where the electrical activity of one’s heart isn’t working the way it should. Many people do not realize they have Afib because the signs and symptoms aren’t always consistent and clear. If your doctor has diagnosed you with Afib, here are some common ways a cardiac electrophysiologist, a doctor specialized in heart rhythm treatment, can treat this condition.

Cardioversion Therapy

Your heart needs a “reset” button when you have Afib. However, hearts do not come with reset buttons. Doctors need to do one of two things to reset your heart when using Cardioversion therapy.

Medications may reset your heart. It will take some time to find the right medication and the right dosage to reset your heart, and not all of these medications can be taken orally. Some of the best medications for Afib in Cardioversion therapy are intravenous. A visit to the hospital or a clinic like Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants may be required for these medications and treatments.

Electrical stimulation can reset your heart as well. If the medications don’t seem to work, or the doctor feels that electrical stimulation would be better, you will be connected to a machine that delivers a small shock of electricity to your heart. Your heart then responds by resetting itself. It’s so brief that you won’t even notice it.  Patients are placed under anesthesia for this particular treatment.

Many Different Medications

From blood thinners to Beta-blockers, your doctors may prescribe different medications to get your heart to beat correctly. It takes some time, and you should be under the care of a heart rhythm specialist until the Afib is under control. These drugs slow your heart rate and prevent potentially fatal clots from forming while your heart slows down.

Catheterization and Ablation

The trouble with Afib hearts is that they often have too many bioelectrical signals firing off in different parts of the heart at the wrong times. Using a small catheter, a cardiac electrophysiologist, such as those at Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants, are specialists who can enter the heart and map the electrical activity.  Then we can ablate, or cauterize, heart electrical tissue to create scarring.

The scarring prevents electrical impulses from rapidly firing in the parts of your heart where the scar tissue was created. As a result, the Afib is controlled, and your heart beats at a normal rate.  This is a highly effective treatment to reduce your burden of AFib.

Since this procedure requires careful and precise surgery, it has to be scheduled and performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. Because you are already under the watchful eye of a cardiac electrophysiologist, you can feel a little more relaxed about the procedure itself. Still, it is not without its risks.  However, it is often a preferred treatment.   You should discuss with your cardiac electrophysiologist if you are interested in such a procedure.

 

Join the team at Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants as we recognize Atrial Fibrillation Awareness month during September! CLICK HERE