Atrial Fibrillation Treatments

Beaumont atrial fibrillation specialists recognize that the condition affects every patient differently. We create customized treatment plans to address each person’s unique symptoms and risk factors.

These treatment plans incorporate leading-edge technologies and state-of-the-art approaches to the treatment of atrial fibrillation to help each patient get back to doing what they love as quickly as possible.

Medications that may be prescribed include:

  • antiarrhythmics to slow a heart rhythm or change the rhythm from abnormal to normal
  • beta blockers to slow a fast heart rate
  • calcium channel blockers to treat atrial fibrillation
  • blood thinners to prevent some potential complications of a-fib
  • medications to manage an underlying condition that is causing your arrhythmias

Medical procedures/treatments:

Cardioversion

  • Even though you are taking medication, you may still go into a-fib from time to time. Your doctor may offer cardioversion as one treatment option. Cardioversion is a procedure in which an electrical current, or shock, is given to the heart muscle to restore the normal rhythm. It sounds scary, but it is a simple, same-day procedure. You will be given a small amount of sedation through an IV line. Large pads (electrodes) will be placed on your chest, the electrical current will pass through these electrodes to return your heart rhythm to normal.

Catheter ablation (radio-frequency ablation or cryoablation)

  • Catheter ablation is a non-surgical procedure that can be used when medication is not working to control the heart rhythm. Catheter ablation is done in an electrophysiology lab in the hospital by a team of highly skilled nurses and technicians who work alongside the electrophysiologist (doctor who specializes in treating heart rhythm conditions).  Radiofrequency energy (heat) or cyroablation (very cold temperatures) is used to destroy a small area of the heart tissue causing irregular heartbeats and restoring a regular heart rhythm. The goal of the procedure is to cure the atrial fibrillation or to lessen the episodes of atrial fibrillation by controlling one’s symptoms.

Pacemaker

  • A pacemaker is appropriate for patients with heart problems that cause their heart to beat too slowly.   It is a small, battery-operated device that is implanted under the skin. This device senses when your heart is beating irregularly or too slowly and it will send a signal to your heart that makes your heart beat at the correct pace.
  • Beaumont offers patients the world's smallest leadless pacemaker, in addition to other pacemakers without leads. Advanced pacemaker implantation including BiVP (biventricular pacing) and HBP (direct HIS bundle pacing) are techniques to resynchronization the heart. It is up to the discretion of your physician which is best for you.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators

  • An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a device that detects any life-threatening, rapid heartbeat. This abnormal heartbeat is called an arrhythmia. If it occurs, the ICD quickly sends an electrical shock to the heart. The shock changes the rhythm back to normal which is called defibrillation.

Pulmonary vein isolation (Afib treatment)

  • Patients who have paroxysmal atrial fibrillation are most commonly treated with catheter-based ablation including pulmonary vein isolation. The electrophysiologist isolates areas in the pulmonary veins that most commonly trigger atrial fibrillation. These extra signals are located around the pulmonary veins on the left side of the heart.

Surgery

MAZE procedure

  • MAZE procedure is an effective surgical treatment for a-fib that also aims to electrically isolate the pulmonary veins from the rest of the atrium; MAZE procedure is an option if atrial fibrillation cannot be treated with medication or other nonsurgical approaches.

AFib Guide

A free guide to help you understand causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation.

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AFib Video Series

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