Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly and too fast because they receive extra, "abnormal" electrical signals. This causes the atria to quiver (fibrillate), affecting the heart's ability to pump blood to the body. As a result, your brain and other organs may not be getting the full blood supply they need.
AFib is a dangerous medical condition that becomes more difficult to treat over time. AFib can lead to irreversible heart damage. It can also lead to the formation of blood clots inside the heart, which may lead to a stroke.
It is unlikely your doctor can pinpoint just one cause of your AFib, but there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing AFib. These include:
The Atrial Fibrillation Clinic at Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute treats patients with persistent or permanent AFib who are difficult to treat or continue to be symptomatic. The clinic provides a multidisciplinary evaluation by electrophysiologists, cardiologists, cardiovascular specialists and surgeons who work together with the patient to determine the best therapy to enhance their quality of life. An RN Program Coordinator assists patients with assessments, procedure planning, monitoring, and long-term follow up. The team offers a full menu of standard and advanced therapies to help patients navigate their arrhythmia journey.
AFib therapy is aimed at reducing the patient's risk of stroke, relieving symptoms and trying to prevent further weakening of the heart. Unfortunately, there is no single treatment strategy that has been shown to be effective for all patients with AFib. There are several therapies that may be used alone or in combination. The choice of treatment depends upon:
At Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento, our treatment options include:
Our heart experts specialize in many different types of ablation techniques to treat atrial fibrillation, including:
Drug therapies include blood thinners and medications used to control your heart rate during AFib and restore its normal rhythm. They include:
Your doctor will help you decide which drug is right for you.