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Atrial Fibrillation


Atrial Fibrillation

About Atrial Fibrillation

More than 3 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation. This abnormal heartbeat increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke. AFib, as it’s often called, can’t be cured. However, various treatments can prevent the condition from getting worse and protect your cardiovascular health. At AssociatesMD, with offices in Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Weston, Margate, and Dania Beach, Florida, the team provides complete care for atrial fibrillation. Call the nearest AssociatesMD office today to schedule an appointment, or book your visit online.

Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an abnormally fast heartbeat (called tachycardia). Without treatment, it increases your risk of potentially severe heart problems, including blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

If you have AFib, the upper chambers of your heart, the atria, beat irregularly and out of sync with the heart's lower chambers, the ventricles. This lack of synchronization affects blood flow and cardiovascular health.

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

Some people with AFib display no symptoms. But some telltale signs to look for include:

  • Fast, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath

As the condition gets worse, you might feel weak and have difficulty exercising.

What kinds of atrial fibrillation are there?

The AssociatesMD team treats several types of atrial fibrillation, including:

Paroxysmal (occasional) AFib

This type occurs occasionally, causing symptoms that last minutes or hours. Symptoms often improve on their own and don’t always require treatment.

Persistent AFib

This type causes a constant irregular heartbeat. Because the heart rhythm can’t reset on its own, professional treatment is needed to reset it and prevent it from getting worse.

Long-standing persistent AFib

This type lasts a year or longer. Treatment typically involves medication and/or surgery to reset your heartbeat.

Permanent AFib 

This type causes a permanent irregular heartbeat. No treatment can reset the heartbeat caused by permanent AFib, so it’s managed with various medications that prevent blood clots.

How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?

Your AssociatesMD provider reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and completes a physical exam. They listen to your heartbeat with a stethoscope and order various tests, including bloodwork, an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), and an echocardiogram (echo).

Bloodwork checks for underlying medical conditions and substances that can cause an irregular heartbeat. An ECG measures your heart’s electrical activity to determine how fast or slow your heart is beating. An echo uses sound waves to develop a picture of your heart. This lets your provider see how well blood flows through your heart valves.

How is atrial fibrillation treated?

How atrial fibrillation is treated will depend on your symptoms, how long you’ve had AFib, and the underlying cause of your irregular heartbeat. The team could suggest:

  • Beta-blockers to slow your heartbeat
  • Calcium channel blockers to control your heart rate
  • Medicines to control your heart rate and rhythm (antiarrhythmics)
  • Blood thinners to prevent blood clots and/or stroke

If medication doesn’t provide relief, your provider might recommend cardioversion therapy. This is an outpatient procedure that resets your heart rhythm. In severe instances, surgery could be necessary.

Call the nearest AssociatesMD office today to schedule atrial fibrillation treatment, or book your appointment online.