Cardiologists located in Glendale, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Anthem, Black Canyon City & Avondale, AZ
Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, can place you at high risk for heart attack and stroke if left untreated. The medical team at Phoenix Heart is knowledgeable and well-equipped to diagnose, treat, and manage heart rhythm problems, including atrial fibrillation. For an expert evaluation and treatment plan for your A-fib, call today or book an appointment online with one of their locations in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, Buckeye, Laveen, Cottonwood, and Black Canyon City, Arizona.
Atrial Fibrillation Q & A
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation, commonly called A-fib, is a heart rhythm problem that causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver and get out of sync with the bottom chambers of the heart.
The upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, normally pump immediately before the lower chambers, called ventricles. Synchronized by the heart’s electrical system, the chambers work together to create a constant movement of blood through the heart and lungs, and back to the body.
When your heart rhythm is irregular, blood moves slower and less efficiently, causing blood to pool and potentially clot. Blood clots can travel all over the body, including the brain, lungs, and heart muscle.
What causes Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is caused by an interruption in the electrical pathway, which may be brought on by damage or strain placed on the heart.
Heart-related conditions that may cause A-fib include:
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure
- Heart valve disease
- Heart attack
- Heart surgery
- Coronary artery disease
- Congestive heart failure
Other possible causes may include:
- High thyroid levels
- Lung disease
- Excessive alcohol use, especially binge drinking
- Stimulants, such as caffeine, recreational drugs, or some medications
You may be at higher risk for having atrial fibrillation if you’re obese or if you smoke.
What are Symptoms of A-Fib?
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation may be general in nature and may come and go. You may not realize that your symptoms are related to your heart rhythm. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or tiring easily
- Racing or pounding heart rate
- Dizziness or fainting
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain or discomfort
Regular cardiac checkups, which may include an EKG or echocardiogram, can help identify A-fib before you have serious complications, such as stroke or heart failure.
How is Atrial Fibrillation Treated?
Once your A-fib has been diagnosed, your Phoenix Heart provider may choose to simply monitor your rhythm regularly.
If your rate isn’t controlled, if you’re symptomatic, or if you have a higher risk of complications, treatment may include:
- Blood-thinning medications
- Rate-controlling medications
- Cardioversion or defibrillation, to shock the heart back into rhythm
- Catheter ablation, a procedure to fix the electrical pathways
- Internal pacemaker, to regulate cardiac rhythm
Your cardiologist takes time to answer your questions related to your risk and your options to treat atrial fibrillation.
For a consultation for your A-fib, call today or book an appointment online with Phoenix Heart.
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