At The Hospital
AFib: Common Treatment Procedures
AFib at the Hospital
Many people diagnosed with AFib live long, full and active lives, and it’s possible to receive treatment for a single episode of atrial fibrillation and recover without needing to have a surgical procedure. Some people manage their atrial fibrillation symptoms with their healthcare provider by taking a medication, and others may either take medications for a while and then have a procedure or they may opt for having a procedure right away.
Procedures in a hospital can range from a fairly simple cardioversion, which can have a quick recovery time, to complex treatments requiring an open heart surgical procedure for persistent, chronic atrial fibrillation.
Although AFib can be stressful for anyone whose symptoms continually or periodically flare up, you may also discover that once you find a way to manage your condition or find a procedure that works to correct the problem, you regain a sense of normalcy in your life. With the right treatment, many people are able to relieve symptoms.
On the pages below, you’ll find tips and insight about treatment with procedures to relieve AFib.
In addition to managing your stroke risks, you and your provider may consider strategies to help you achieve what is called “normal sinus rhythm.” What is the definition of “cured” for atrial fibrillation? A regular pumping rhythm is an important goal, and many people who are able to achieve long-term stability with their sinus rhythm feel that their AFib is “cured.” The possibility of a lasting “cure” is most likely for people who have episodes of AFib that come and go (called paroxysmal AFib). This group is likely to have fewer complications and may experience rapid treatment success.
“Electrical cardioversion” is a process that shocks the heart to convert it from an irregular pumping rhythm back into a normal sinus rhythm. The EKG illustration shows what the heart rhythm looks like before and after cardioversion.
Quick facts about catheter ablation: Catheter ablation is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) when medicines are not effective or compatible with a person’s lifestyle. Medicines help to control the abnormal heart tissue and pulmonary vein tissue that causes arrhythmias. Catheter ablation blocks the pathway so the erratic contraction signals cannot control the heart and cause the arrhythmias. Catheter ablation is a procedure that is successful for many people with AFib, although the success rates can vary widely. This procedure takes place in a special hospital room called an electrophysiology (EP) lab or a cardiac catheterization (cath) lab.
Is AFib Curable? Which Treatments Are Most Effective? We don’t usually say AFib is “curable” but we do know that there are treatable causes and options for decreasing the burden from AFib that can –but may not always– keep the AFib from returning.
Additional Helpful Financial Resources Is there any type of financial assistance for people in need of atrial fibrillation treatment who lack necessary funds or healthcare coverage for the procedure?