Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists
Cardiovascular Specialists located in Mountain View, CA
Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia worldwide, where it’s associated with serious complications including a higher risk of stroke. When your atrial fibrillation is treated by the team, at Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists, you gain the comprehensive care needed to lower your risks and maintain a steady heartbeat. At the first sign of symptoms like a fast heartbeat or fluttering in your chest, schedule an appointment by calling the office in Mountain View, California, or using the online booking feature.
Atrial Fibrillation Q & A
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat that develops when something goes wrong with your heart’s electrical system.
Your heart’s electrical system is self-contained, with its own pacemaker called the sinoatrial node. For each heartbeat, the sinoatrial node starts an electrical impulse which follows a defined electrical pathway that carries the signal through your heart.
When the electrical system works properly, all the heart muscles contract in the precise order needed to efficiently pump blood through your heart. But when the electrical impulse begins in another area of your heart other than the sinoatrial node, the electrical signals become chaotic.
As a result, the two upper chambers start to beat in a rapid and disorganized pattern, causing atrial fibrillation.
What causes atrial fibrillation?
AFib is usually caused by heart damage due to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
- Viral infections
- Stimulant misuse
Your risk increases if you have conditions such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, or a family history of AFib.
What symptoms develop due to atrial fibrillation?
The first symptom you’re likely to experience is a fluttering heartbeat, a sensation that occurs when muscles in the heart’s upper chambers quiver or fibrillate. You may also develop symptoms such as:
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
The symptoms of AFib may stay constant or come and go, but at the first sign of a problem, it’s important to get a thorough evaluation by a physician. Early treatment can prevent blood clots.
How is atrial fibrillation treated?
After reviewing your medical history and symptoms and performing a physical examination, a physician determines which diagnostic procedures are needed to verify your diagnosis.
Your customized treatment plan includes therapies targeting any underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure, as well as treatment for your AFib.
A physician may recommend one or more of the following:
Several prescription medications are available to stabilize your heart rate. You may also need blood thinners to prevent clotting.
The medical staff are experts in procedures that can correct your arrhythmia. Examples include catheter ablation to destroy the heart tissues triggering the arrhythmia and electrical cardioversion to restore a normal heart rhythm. Some patients may need a pacemaker to regulate their irregular heartbeat.
As soon as you develop a fast or fluttery heartbeat, call Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists or schedule an appointment online.