Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, is a common heart rhythm disorder that affects as many as 6 million Americans. It also increases patients’ risk for stroke five-fold. If you or a loved one have been recently diagnosed with AFib, you’ll need ongoing care.

You may be wondering if you should visit a general cardiologist or an electrophysiologist, also known as an EP doctor. Make the right choice for your heart health by choosing a doctor who specializes in your condition.

Understanding Your Condition

Finding the right doctor is an important step in finding relief and maintaining your heart health. Atrial fibrillation can be a very dangerous condition due to its link to an increased risk of stroke in patients. AFib causes an irregular, often rapid heart rate that commonly leads to poor blood flow. The dangers associated with this heart rhythm disorder make it imperative to seek treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis.

There are currently two main types of treatment available for patients diagnosed with AFib: medication and catheter ablation. Your primary care physician can recommend a specialist to visit depending on which treatment is right for you.

When to Visit a Cardiologist

A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in heart disorders and some circulatory system issues. A cardiologist can provide a medical diagnosis of congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and valvular heart disease. Cardiologists focus on the mechanical function of the heart by studying the heart muscle and vascular system.

It may be time to visit a cardiologist if you are experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, or dizziness. Your primary care physician will likely recommend an appointment with a cardiologist to find the source of these symptoms.

During an appointment with a cardiologist, your doctor will issue multiple tests. If these tests reveal a heart rhythm disorder, they will recommend you to visit an EP doctor.

When to Visit an Electrophysiologist

Electrophysiology is a highly specialized field of cardiology focusing on the heart’s electrical system and heart rhythm disorders like AFib. An EP doctor is a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders.

If a cardiologist’s test revealed an abnormal heart rhythm disorder they may recommend seeing an EP doctor for further treatment. An EP doctor can prescribe medication to control arrhythmias in the heart and install pacemakers and ICDs. EP doctors also perform procedures like cardiac catheter ablation as a treatment for those diagnosed with AFib.

If you believe you may be suffering from a heart rhythm disorder, consider visiting the cardiac electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants. Our care coordinators can give you more information about testing and treatment options, including cardiac ablation therapy. We value your health and well-being above all else. Speak with a care coordinator today.

About Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A.

The experienced electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. have been serving West Florida including Sarasota, Venice, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and Sun City Center for over 15 years. Our specialty cardiologists, or EP doctors, help patients manage their abnormal heart rhythm conditions, whether they suffer from arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (AFib), or other irregular heartbeats. Dr. Dilip J. Mathew, Dr. Antonio Moretta, and Dr. Rajesh Malik perform arrhythmia treatments like cardiac ablation, cryoablation, and implanting pacemakers or defibrillators. Dr. Mathew has performed nearly 5,000 complex cardiac ablations. View our office locations in Sarasota and Venice, Florida.