Atrial Fibrillation

Amelia Heart & Vascular Center is a respected leader in vascular medicine serving the Northern Virginia area.

Atrial fibrillation is when the heart is beating too fast or too slow because the beat in the heart’s upper chambers are out of sync with the beats in the heart’s lower chambers. While atrial fibrillation is not life-threatening, it is a serious medical condition since it can increase the risk to strokes and blood clots.

Causes:

Atrial fibrillation is mainly caused from a previous heart condition like high blood pressure, heart attack, or coronary artery disease. Atrial fibrillation can also occur after heart surgery.

Symptoms:

Some people may feel symptoms of atrial fibrillation while others may not. Below are a few of the symptoms of atrial fibrillation.

  • Racing/Pounding feeling in the chest
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest Pain
  • Dizziness

Imaging and Diagnostics:

There are many ways for your doctor to be able to diagnose atrial fibrillation. Below are methods that the doctor can use to diagnose atrial fibrillation.

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Holter Monitor
  • Stress Test
  • Chest X-ray

Treatments:

Treatment methods will vary based on the cause of atrial fibrillation, the symptoms, and the risk for stroke that the patient has. Below are treatment methods for atrial fibrillation

  • Heart rhythm treatment like cardioversion and catheter ablation
  • Heart rate medication
  • Stroke prevention treatments

Lifestyle Changes:

Lifestyle changes may help reduce the episodes of atrial fibrillation. Having a healthy heart will help manage the atrial fibrillation. To have a healthy heart, the patient should do the following.

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Regularly exercise
  • Maintain healthy weight or lose weight if needed
  • Quit Smoking
  • Get a flu shot every year
  • Drink alcohol in moderation or avoid it entirely

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