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Atrial Fibrillation

Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center

Cardiovascular Disease Specialists & Interventional Cardiologists located in North Houston, Tomball, TX

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia, affecting up to 6.1 million Americans. Waqar Khan, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI, Alexander Trujillo, MD, and Steven Napierkowski, MD, diagnose atrial fibrillation and offer personalized treatment at Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center in Tomball, Texas. Call the practice or book a consultation online today if you're concerned about an irregular heartbeat.

Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What is atrial fibrillation?

Your atria are the top chambers of your heart. The right atria receives blood from your veins. Then your blood moves through the right ventricle where it is reoxygenated and moves through your left atria and into your left ventricle, which pushes the blood back into your body.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). The abnormal rhythm originates in a problem in your atrium that disrupts the electrical signals that regulate your heartbeat. 

What are the signs of atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation can cause a fluttering or thumping feeling in your chest or a rapid or irregular heartbeat. You might also have the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Chest pain or pressure

It's also possible to have asymptomatic atrial fibrillation. Many patients don't have symptoms, and a doctor diagnoses their condition during an unrelated exam. 

Chest pain is a warning sign of a heart attack. You should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room if you have it or any other signs of a cardiac emergency.

What causes atrial fibrillation?

Abnormalities or damage to your heart tissue or structure is the most prevalent cause of atrial fibrillation. Other contributing factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Congenital heart defects
  • A hyperactive thyroid
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease
  • Prior heart surgery
  • Stress
  • Use of stimulants
  • Sleep apnea

Your risk of atrial fibrillation is higher if you smoke, are overweight, or consume too much alcohol. Your family history and age also influence your chances of developing the condition.

How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?

Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center provides comprehensive exams and testing to diagnose atrial fibrillation and its cause. The doctors offer state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, including electrocardiograms and echocardiograms on-site, to evaluate your heart activity. 

Your doctor might also recommend a PET scan to identify damaged heart tissue that could be the root cause of your irregular heartbeat. 

In addition to in-office testing, your doctor might provide a Holter or event monitor to record your heart activity for a longer period.

How do you treat atrial fibrillation?

The physicians at Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center offer personalized treatments for atrial fibrillation. They aim to regulate your heart rate and restore a normal rhythm, prevent blood clots, and address any underlying conditions contributing to your symptoms. 

Depending on your needs, your physician might prescribe medication to prevent blood clot formation and regulate your heart rate. They can also prescribe medicine to restore a normal heart rhythm. 

If medicine doesn't restore a healthy heartbeat, they offer defibrillation and radiofrequency ablation, or a pacemaker to control your abnormal heart rhythm. Surgery is also an option.

In addition to medical and surgical treatments, your doctor helps you implement healthy lifestyle adjustments to improve and protect your overall cardiovascular health. They can help you adjust your diet, incorporate exercise into your routine, and stop smoking. 

Call Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center, or make an appointment online today, if you have concerns about atrial fibrillation or an irregular heartbeat.