Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heart rhythm that affects the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. This arrhythmia prevents blood from being pumped efficiently to the rest of your body.
AF may impact your quality of life, energy level and physical activity if left untreated, it may increase the risk of heart failure, stroke and death. In fact, AF increases the likelihood of having a stroke by 5 times. Even without symptoms, AF can be a serious life threatening condition.
AF symptoms vary depending on it has progressed, its’ causes and overall health. You may notice:
- irregular, rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeat
- fatigue, shortness of breath or weakness
- chest discomfort or pain
The causes of AF are unclear but may be the result of:
- heart abnormality from birth
- damage to the structure of the heart from a heart attack
- heart valve problems
Your risks for AF are increased if you have the risk factors listed below:
- high cholesterol or blood pressure
- heart disease
- excess weight
- alcohol abuse
- some medication
- advancing age
Minimally invasive procedure to correct arrhythmia by disabling unwanted electrical signals
Electrophysiologists work closely with other experts, including cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to understand your heart arrhythmia and recommend the treatment options that will work best for you. This team approach helps ensure you receive exactly the care you need. Cardiac ablation works by scarring or destroying tissue in your heart that triggers or sustains an abnormal heart rhythm. In some cases, cardiac ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from entering your heart and, thus, stops the arrhythmia. Cardiac ablation usually uses long, flexible tubes (catheters) inserted through a vein or artery in your groin and threaded to your heart to deliver energy in the form of heat or extreme cold to modify the tissues in your heart that cause an arrhythmia.