Before beginning treatment, your doctor may want to further evaluate your heart.
One test that may be recommended is an Echocardiogram, in which sound waves are used to create an image of your heart, as it pumps.
The information from this and other tests will help you and you healthcare team decide on the treatment that is best for you.
For some patients with atrial fibrillation, restoring the heart's natural rhythm is the goal of treatment. For others, just controlling the heart rate is a safer and more effective goal.
For most patients with atrial fibrillation, preventing blood clots that could lead to a stroke is extremely important.
To help achieve your goals, several treatment options may be recommended.
One option may be to take medications, of which there are several types that may be prescribed.
Antiarrhythmic medications may be given to restore the heart's natural rhythm. These include: Flecainide, Sotalol, and Amiodarone.
Rate control medications help slow down the heart rate. Some examples of these medications include: beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and Digoxin.
Anticoagulants are often prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke. The two most often prescribed anticoagulants are Warfarin, sometimes called Coumadin, and aspirin.
Another treatment option is electrical cardioversion. This is a procedure that can restore the heart's natural rhythm.
Before having this procedure you'll be given a sedative to put you to sleep. An electrical shock is then delivered through the electrode pads, or paddles.
This single shock wipes out the disorganized electrical activity in your heart, restoring the natural rhythm.
Following electrical cardioversion, you may have a little chest discomfort, or some redness on the chest temporarily; but overall, the procedure is very fast and safe.
Most patients are allowed to go home a few hours after the procedure is completed.
For some patients, a Catheter Ablation may be recommended. This procedure is not considered major surgery and is usually performed in a