Skip to Main Content

Atrial Fibrillation

You may have moments in your life when you feel a sensation, or fluttering, near your heart. The sensation could indicate an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, called atrial fibrillation (AFib). This heart condition affects nearly 3 million people in the US.

Atrial fibrillation symptoms can include a quiver, flutter, or no sign at all. Cardiologists at Dignity Health – Mercy Medical Center treat a range of cardiovascular conditions with dignity and respect. Find a Doctor today for comprehensive, personal care for atrial fibrillation in Merced, California.


Diagnosing atrial fibrillatin (AFib) symptoms at Dignity Health in Merced

Every person is unique. While some have the classic atrial fibrillation symptoms of fluttering or quivering, you may not know you have it until your doctor diagnoses it.

Other AFib symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Trouble with exercise
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain

Call 911 or seek emergency care if you or a loved one has chest pain or other heart attack symptoms.

If you have some of these symptoms, you may feel them occasionally, consistently, or all the time. For persistent AFib, treatment can help restore your normal heart rhythm. For permanent AFib, heart care cannot restore your normal rhythm. Our treatment options can help maintain your heart rate and reduce your risk of stroke.

Take our online heart health risk assessment to learn more about your heart health.


What causes atrial fibrillation (AFib)?

Your heart’s electrical system can be affected by arrhythmias, while other conditions involve blockages or heart damage. Your heart’s electrical system can be damaged from: 

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart surgery
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Heart valve disease
  • Birth defects at birth 

Risk factors, such as a family history of AFib, alcohol abuse, obesity, and advanced age will be reviewed by your health care provider. Other medical conditions that can lead to AFib are thyroid disease, diabetes, lung disease, and sleep apnea. 

Your doctor may use the following tests to diagnose your irregular heartbeat:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) to show the rhythm and rate of your heart
  • Holter and event monitors, which are longer versions of an EKG that monitor your heart rhythm over a longer period of time
  • Echocardiogram, which takes pictures of your beating heart and valves
  • Stress test to check how your heart handles increased work


Atrial fibrillation (AFib) treatment with humankindness

AFib-related medical complications, such as blood clots, are risks that you and our heart care team want to avoid. Our treatment options for atrial fibrillation focus on preventing clots and controlling your heart rate so that you stay healthy and safe. If your heart rhythm cannot be reversed with treatment, your cardiologist may prescribe medications and discuss the benefits of each option.

Schedule an appointment with a caring expert at Dignity Health in Merced for trusted heart treatment.