Treatment options for Atrial Fibrillation

Treatment options for Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation is a condition is which the heat beats in an arrhythmic pattern i.e. patients have a quivering or fluttering sensation in the heart. Atrial Fibrillation is also commonly called AFib or AF. Almost 27 percent of Americans suffer from this condition and almost twenty percent of the cases of stroke are due to AFib. This condition is mainly caused due to thickening of blood i.e. increase in the blood pressure which in turn can be caused due to high levels of cholesterol or high levels of sugar in the blood.

AFib treatments for individuals depend on how long the individual has had AFib, how severe the symptoms are and the basic cause of AFib. Atrial Fibrillation drugs and other treatments basically target to reset the rhythm of the heart beat or control the levels of blood clot. Also, the treatment prescribed by the doctor will offer depends on other factors too. Other factors include other diseases or disorders, previous medication record, whether the patient will be able to consume the Atrial Fibrillation drugs to reset the heart beat or not, etc.

Resetting the heart beat- The ideal way to treat AFib is to correct the heart rhythm. This can be done using a procedure called Cardioversion. Cardioversion can be conducted in two kinds of procedures.

Electrical Cardioversion – This procedure is brief and involves delivering an electric shock to the heart through paddles placed on the chest. The shock momentarily stops the electrical activity of the heart. It is hoped that when the heart resumes again, the rhythm will be back to normal.

Cardioversion with drugs – In this form of Cardioversion, AFib drugs called anti-arrhythmics are provided to the patient to help the heart get back to its normal rhythm. The doctor refers intravenous or oral Atrial fibrillation medications based on the condition of the patient’s heart. This process is carried out in the hospital with continuous monitoring of the heart rhythm.
Before any Cardioversion treatment is carried out, blood thinning medications are usually given for several weeks in order to reduce risks of blood clots.

Maintaining normal rhythm of the heart- After the Cardioversion treatments, the doctor prescribes anti-arrhythmic medications. This is done so that atrial fibrillation episodes in the future can be avoided. These drugs may have certain side effects like fatigue, nausea or dizziness. However, even with medication, there always remains a chance of another AFib episode. There are also medications available for AFib stroke treatments.

Heart rate control – Control of heart rate can be achieved with various kinds of medications. For example, medication may be able to control heart rate at rest. However, it might not work that well during activity. So, a lot of patients sometimes require alternative or additional medications like beta blockers or calcium channel blockers. However, beta blockers may cause severe side effects like low blood pressure and worsening of heart condition; the same can occur for calcium beta blockers.

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