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Know your treatment goals

The treatment goals of atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) start with a proper diagnosis through an in-depth examination from a physician. The exam usually includes questions about your history and often an EKG or ECG. Some patients may need a thorough electrophysiology study.


Prevention and Risk Reduction

Although no one is able to absolutely guarantee that a stroke or a clot can be preventable, there are ways to reduce risks for developing these problems.

After a patient is diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the ideal goals may include:

  • Restoring the heart to a normal rhythm (called rhythm control)
  • Reducing an overly high heart rate (called rate control)
  • Preventing blood clots (called prevention of thromboembolism such as stroke)
  • Managing risk factors for stroke
  • Preventing additional heart rhythm problems
  • Preventing heart failure

Getting Back on Beat

Avoiding atrial fibrillation and subsequently lowering your stroke risk can be as simple as foregoing your morning cup of coffee. In other words, some AFib cases are only as strong as their underlying cause. If hyperthyroidism is the cause of AFib, treating the thyroid condition may be enough to make AFib go away.

Doctors can use a variety of different medications to help control the heart rate during atrial fibrillation.

"These medications, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, work on the AV node," says Dr. Andrea Russo of University of Pennsylvania Health System. "They slow the heart rate and may help improve symptoms. However, they do not 'cure' the rhythm abnormality, and patients still require medication to prevent strokes while remaining in atrial fibrillation."

 

Recent Discussions

  • 19 Replies
    Joanie2016:My ER doctor told me to go to ER if heart rate was 120 for over 10 minutes. That is scary. 120? I test both blood pressure and pulse as well as glucose every other hour and log it in a note book. It has helped my doctors with my treat...
  • 6 Replies
    I've never had a cardioversion.  I've tried multiple rhythm drugs.  I was allergic to several and multaq had too many side effects plus it didn't get me into rhythm.  I had an ablation in February 2017.  My afib was pretty constant follow...
  • 6 Replies
    I am very new to the AFib stuff as well. I've had several cardioversions, one ablation with another one scheduled next week. I was put on that medication as well. They were hoping it would either knock me back into rhythm or keep me in rhythm...
Restoring a normal heart rhythm and lowering stroke risks with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

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