Annually, 80,000 deaths are the end result of a common heart condition called atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF). McLeod Cardiologists and Electrophysiologists treat patients with this disease every day. An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with AF. This condition is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
Generally, the treatment goals for AF are to reset the heart rhythm or control the rate, and prevent blood clots. There are multiple procedures available for specialized physicians to offer patients with this condition. To correct your condition, doctors may be able to reset the heart to its regular rhythm (sinus rhythm) using a procedure called the cardioversion, depending on the underlying cause of atrial fibrillation and how long the patient has had the condition. The most common of these are Electrical Cardioversion and Cardioversion with medication. Patients are also started on blood thinners, or even oral anticoagulants which assist to dissolve the blood clots that may form from AF, helping prevent a stroke. Additional options for treatment include catheter and surgical procedures. If a patient has a slow heart rate, a pacemaker may be a considerable option.
“More commonly if symptoms persist after giving patients anticoagulants and controlling the heart rate with medications or converting back into sinus rhythm, patients can undergo a procedure known as atrial fibrillation ablation, which is performed by Electrophysiologists. This procedure can eliminate AF in nearly 90 percent of patients,” said Dr. Amit Pande, a Cardiologist with McLeod Cardiology Associates.
Many patients never know they have this disorder until after a stroke. This occurs in 11 percent of adults over the age of 65 affected with arrhythmia. There is a higher risk of stroke if you have atrial fibrillation and heart value disease, heart failure, diabetes, or hypertension. As a result of AF, blood clots can form in the atria, which can lead to stroke when the clot leaves the heart and travels to the brain. Symptoms associated with AF may include: palpitations, chest pain and pressure or discomfort, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue or lack of energy, and exercise intolerance.
Equipped with seasoned physicians, McLeod Health has answered the call to perform comprehensive screenings to arrive at the absolute diagnoses for their patients. As members of the largest medical network in the northeastern region of the state, heart health care is one of the main services McLeod Health offers as it is a primary health concern in the state.
If you believe you may be experiencing these symptoms, discuss this with your physician, or contact McLeod Cardiology Associates offices located in Florence (843-667-1891), Little River (843-390-0877), Loris (843-756-7029), Myrtle Beach (843-839-1201) and Sumter (803-883-5171). You can also visit the website at www.mcleodhealth.org.