Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

The treatment you may be prescribed for your atrial fibrillation may vary based on a number of factors, including the severity of your disease, relevant co-morbidities and cardiac history. This clinic uses a holistic, comprehensive approach in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, including lifestyle intervention through diet, exercise, yoga, smoking cessation and stress management, as well as medication and interventional & surgical procedures when necessary. Always consult your healthcare providers before starting or stopping any lifestyle change or medication; this is especially important for atrial fibrillation patients.

Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation: What tests might I need?

As needed, the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation may require several scans or investigations. Your doctor will go over the specifics of any particular diagnostic screening you may need. The following is a list of some of the most common tests that atrial fibrillation may require:

Holter Monitor
  • Holter monitors are small, battery-powered devices that are sent home with patients
  • Small pads are placed in regions on the chest
  • These devices continiously monitor the heart's electrical activity and can help your doctor better understand your arrhythmia
  • Holter testing at CCCC
Blood Test
  • Blood tests may be ordered from a lab
  • Measurements of electrolytes, kidney function (creatinine), thyroid function and blood counts (to detect anemia) can indicate the underlying cause of atrial fibrillation
Chest X-Ray (CXR)
  • Chest X-rays are performed in radiology labs
  • Chest x-rays can show whether the heart is enlarged
  • Chest x-rays can also show fluid or congestion in the lungs
  • Chext x-rays can detect pneumonia, a potential cause for atrial fibrillation
Electrocardiocgram (ECG)
  • During an ECG, small electrodes are placed on the chest and detect the electric signals in the heart
  • This can indicate prior heart attacks, heart enlargement and can also detect the hearbeat abnormalities (like atrial fibrillation)
  • Electrocardiocgram testing at CCCC
Echocardiogram (Echo)
  • An echo machine bounces sound waves off the heart to examine its structure and motion of fluids like blood
  • This can be used to measure the structure of the heart, how well the heart pumps (ejection fraction) as well as the structure and function of valves
  • Echocardiography testing at CCCC
Stress Test
  • In a stress test, you will exercise on a treadmill while your heart is monitored
  • Stress tests examine the heart rate response to exertion and detect signs of blockages
  • Stress tests help determine what kind of exercise is appropraiate
  • Stress testing at CCCC

Medications

You may be prescribed certain medications to alleviate symptoms or reduce your stroke risk. A brief description of these medications can be found below. Always remember to consult your healthcare providers before making any changes to your medications.

I Rate-LoweringTherapy A rapid and irregular heartbeatcan lead to weakening of theheart muscle (heart failure),shortness of breath and lowerblood pressure. Rate-loweringtherapy refers to a broad group ofdrugs that reduce heart rate andincludes Beta-Blockers, Calciumchannel blockers and digoxin. II AntiarrhythmmicAgent During atrial fibrillation, the heartbeat is often erratic and inconsistent.Antiarrhythmic medications aredrugs that help to promote a moreregular heart rhythm by altering theelectrical signalling of the heart. III Anticoagulation Atrial fibrillation can lead to anincreased risk of clot formationin the heart. Anticoagulants(AKA blood thinners) help toprevent blood clots, reducingthe risk of stroke. Dependingon the type of anticoagulantagent you are prescribed, youmay require regular monitoringand dose adjustment.

Procedures

Interventional andsurgical proceduressituationally used inatrial fibrillation Left Atrial AppendageOcclusion This procedure involves blocking off asmall pocket-like outpuch off the atriumin which clots may normally form PacemakerImplantation Some peoplewith atrialfibrillation maydevelop slowheartbeats thatneed to beregulated with aback-uppacemaker more... Pulmonary VeinIsolation Ablation This procedure creates a barrier to preventabnormal electrical currents which trigger atrialfibrillation and originate from the pulmonaryveins from travelling to the rest of the heart more... AV Nodal Ablation AV nodal ablation is aprocedure that disconnectsthe faulty electrical signals inthe atrium from the ventricle.After a pacemaker isimplanted, the ventricle willbeat normally which canreduce symptoms more... Maze Procedure The mazeprocedureinvolves specificsurgical incisionsto form scartissue whichdisrupts andprevents erraticelectrical signals more... Left AtrialAppendageClosure This procedure involvesusing an umbrella deviceto block off an outpouchof the atrium in whichclots may form more...
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Location
Cambridge Cardiac Care
150 Hespeler Rd.
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6V6
519-624-3511
CCC Educational Events

Apr 22, 2017 Healthy Heart Day

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Cambridge Cardiac Care is located in the heart of Waterloo Region in downtown Cambridge.

Cambridge Cardiac Care serves patients throughout southwestern Ontario, including Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Brantford, Paris, Fergus, Elora, Elmira, Owen Sound, Kincardine, and Stratford.