Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Table of Contents
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib) facts
- What is the normal function of the heart?
- What is the electrical function of the heart?
- What causes atrial fibrillation?
- Heart rate during AFib
- What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AFib)?
- What are the risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation (AFib)?
- How is atrial fibrillation (AFib) diagnosed?
- Heart monitors and other tests
- What is the treatment for atrial fibrillation (AFib)?
- Slowing the heart rate with medications
- Anticoagulation drugs to prevent blood clots and strokes
- Who are, and who are not candidates for warfarin?
- Newer medications to prevent stroke in AFib
- Cardioversion with medications
- Other methods of converting AFib to a normal rhythm
- Risks and candidates for cardioversion
- Procedures for treating and preventing atrial fibrillation (AFib)
- Other procedures for treating and preventing atrial fibrillation
- What are the complications of atrial fibrillation (AFib)?
- What is pulmonary vein isolation?
- Who are candidates for PVI, and what are the risks?
Heart monitors and other tests
If episodes of AFib occur intermittently, a standard EKG performed at the time of a visit to the doctor's office may not show AFib. Therefore, a Holter monitor, a continuous recording of the heart's rhythm for 24 hours, often is used to diagnose intermittent episodes of AFib.
Patient-activated event recorder
If the episodes of atrial fibrillation are infrequent, a 24-hour Holter recording may not capture these sporadic episodes. In this situation, the patient can wear a patient-activated event recorder for 1 to 4 weeks. The patient presses a button to start the recording when he or she senses the onset of irregular heartbeats or symptoms possibly caused by AFib. The doctor then analyzes the recordings at a later date.
High blood pressure and signs of heart failure can be ascertained (determined) during a physical examination of the patient. Blood tests are performed to detect abnormalities in blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, electrolytes, and thyroid hormone levels. Chest X-rays reveal enlargement of the heart, heart failure, and other diseases of the lung. Exercise treadmill testing (a continuous recording of the EKG during exercise) is a useful screening study for detecting severe coronary artery disease. Continue Reading