Atrial Fibrillation Treatment
The type of treatment you need will depend on the frequency and severity of your symptoms. Most commonly, symptoms will last for less than a week, which can be managed relatively easily. But for some, the symptoms will last indefinitely, which requires a different treatment approach. The overall goal of treatment is the same – restore your natural rhythm and prevent complications, like blood clots.
There are two ways to reset the rhythm using a cardioversion. An electrical shock can be delivered to your chest to shock the heart back into sync, or special medication can be administered while your condition is monitored to see if your heart will reset on its own.
After getting the heart beat back on track, your doctor may prescribe certain medications to address the cause of A Fib. Normal treatment includes an anticoagulant (blood thinner) to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke. Anti-arrhythmia medication may also be prescribed to help regulate your heart beat and prevent future episodes. A combination of drugs may be needed to control heart rate, as well.
For some cases of A Fib, surgical intervention may be needed to repair diseased or damaged areas in the heart that restrict blood flow. A stent or pacemaker may be inserted during the repair. Or, a special technique can be used to create scar tissue on the heart to redirect electrical impulses because electricity cannot travel across scar tissue. This can be accomplished with a catheter ablation or surgical maze procedure. The scars are made using radiofrequency, cryotherapy, or heat. A catheter ablation can correct arrhythmias without the need for medication or an implantable device. Ablation of the AV node may be an option if a catheter ablation doesn’t work. A surgical maze procedure requires open heart surgery, which is not recommended unless all other options have failed.
Atrial Fibrillation Treatment from SecondOpinions.com (Cardiology, Family Practice, Internal Medicine)
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