- The nature or cause of the arrhythmia (where it starts in your heart)
- The severity of the arrhythmia
- The severity of your symptoms
- Medications you take
- Your age, overall health, and personal and family medical history
- Other health problems you may have
Most AFib patients are initially prescribed medications to
restore their heart rhythm, manage the symptoms of AFib, or
minimize their risk of stroke.
Medications may include:
- Calcium channel blockers- interrupts the movement of calcium into your heart and blood vessel tissues to slow your heart rate
- Beta blockers- slows your heart rate, relax your blood vessels and make it easier for your heart to pump blood
- Sodium channel blockers - slows the electrical conductivity of your heart to improve rhythm problems.
- Antiarrhythmic medication - works to restore and/or maintain normal sinus rhythm
- Anticoagulant medication - reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke
Medications may cause unwanted side effects and may not work for everyone.
A cardioversion is a controlled low-dose shock to the heart to convert abnormal rhythm to sinus rhythm. It is typically performed under sedation in a hospital setting such as an emergency room, intensive care unit, recovery room, special procedure room or electrophysiology lab. Oftentimes, your AFib may return after a cardioversion.
Catheter ablation is recommended by the American College of Cardiology, the Heart Rhythm Society and the American Heart Association for patients when medication proves to be unsuccessful. Catheter ablation is a procedure to restore the heart’s incorrect electrical signals which cause an abnormal heart rhythm.
Most patients who receive catheter ablation treatment experience a long-term reduction in the number of episodes of arrhythmia and the severity of symptoms and feel an improvement in their quality of life.2