Northwest Houston Heart Center
Cardiology located in Tomball, Cypress, Magnolia, & The Woodlands, TX
Atrial fibrillation is a common kind of arrhythmia in which your heartbeat becomes noticeably irregular. If you have symptoms of atrial fibrillation, expert cardiologists A. Adnan Aslam, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and Roy Norman, DO, of Northwest Houston Heart Center can help. They have offices in Tomball, Cypress, Magnolia, and The Woodlands, Texas, offering state-of-the-art diagnosis and advanced treatments to correct atrial fibrillation. Find out more by calling one of their convenient locations or booking an appointment online today.
Atrial Fibrillation Q & A
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common type of arrhythmia. There are many different kinds of arrhythmia, where your heart beats too slowly, too quickly, irregularly, or with a combination of these problems.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that affects blood flow in the upper and lower chambers of your heart. It's due to an electrical problem in your heart's upper chambers (the atria) that causes them to beat erratically, so they're out of sequence with the lower chambers (ventricles).
Why might I have atrial fibrillation?
Several health conditions can trigger atrial fibrillation, including:
- Sleep apnea
- Thyroid disorders
- Heart attacks
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Congenital heart defects
- Heart valve disorders
Caffeine, tobacco, and certain medications might cause atrial fibrillation, and your risk of developing the condition increases as you get older. Some patients have lone atrial fibrillation, which is where there's no apparent cause.
What symptoms might I experience with atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation symptoms typically include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Syncope (fainting)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Exercise intolerance
- Heart palpitations
Without the correct treatment, atrial fibrillation can result in potentially life-threatening complications such as stroke and congestive heart failure.
How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
There are several tests that Northwest Houston Heart Center can use to diagnose atrial fibrillation, including:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Holter and event or telemonitoring
What treatment might I need for atrial fibrillation?
Potential treatments for atrial fibrillation include:
Electrical cardioversion involves having a controlled electric shock to your heart using paddles or patches on your chest. This stops the electrical activity in your heart briefly, giving it a chance to reset to a normal rhythm.
Medications called antiarrhythmics can also help restore a normal heart rhythm. Your provider at Northwest Houston Heart Center might use these drugs as part of your cardioversion treatment and to help prevent atrial fibrillation from occurring in the future.
Other medications like digoxin, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers help control the speed of your heartbeat and restore it to a normal rate.
Cardiac ablation destroys the tissue in your heart that's producing faulty electrical signals. Ablation may use radiofrequency energy, heat, or extreme cold (cryotherapy).
You might need a pacemaker for atrial fibrillation if you also have bradycardia (slow heartbeat) or congestive heart failure.
If you're at risk of getting blood clots, you might need to take anticoagulant medication or have a left atrial appendage closure device implanted via a catheter.
To find out how Northwest Houston Heart Center can help with atrial fibrillation, call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.
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