Get answers to your Arrhythmia questions.
Auricular fibrillation; A-fib
Sometimes, atrial fibrillation may need emergency treatment in the hospital to get the heart back into normal rhythm. This treatment may involve electrical shocks or special drugs.
Daily medicines taken by mouth are used in two different ways:
Blood thinners such as heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and dabigatran (Pradaxa) reduce the risk of a blood clot traveling in the body (such as a stroke). Because these drugs increase the chance of bleeding, not everyone can use them. Antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin or clopidogrel may also be prescribed. Your doctor will consider your age and other medical problems when deciding which drug is best.
A procedure called radiofrequency ablation can be used to destroy areas in your heart that may be causing your heart rhythm problems. Cardiac ablation procedures are done in a hospital laboratory by specially trained staff. Ablation may be done:
You may need a heart pacemaker after this procedure.
The disorder can usually be controlled with treatment. Many people with atrial fibrillation do very well.
However, atrial fibrillation tends to return and get worse. It may come back even with treatment.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of atrial fibrillation or flutter.
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Dobrev D, Nattel S. New antiarrhythmic drugs for treatment of atrial fibrillation. Lancet. 2010;375:1212-1223.
Crandall MA, Bradley DJ, Packer DL, Asirvatham SJ. Contemporary management of atrial fibrillation: update on anticoagulation and invasive management strategies. Mayo Clin Proc. 2009;84:643-662.
Noheria A, Kumar A, Wylie JV Jr., Josephson ME. Catheter ablation vs. antiarrhythmic drug therapy for atrial fibrillation: a systematic review. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:581-586.
Fuster V, Ryden LE, Cannom DS, Crijns HJ, Curtis AB, Ellenbogen KA, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA/HRS focused updates incorporated into the ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 Guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines developed in partnership with the European Society of Cardiology and in collaboration with the European Heart Rhythm Association and the Heart Rhythm Society. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;57:e101-198.
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