Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common types of heart arrhythmia. This condition has the potential to cause long-term damage to the heart’s electrical system. In order to understand your condition, it’s important to learn how an EP doctor diagnoses AFib.
You are at increased risk of an AFib diagnosis if you have a family history of the condition. Additionally, you are at high risk if you live with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disorders, sleep apnea, or heart disease. If you develop AFib, you have a five times increased risk of stroke.
AFib is often age-related, and your risk increases every year. It’s crucial to have it diagnosed and treated right away. There are various heart monitoring methods available that doctors use to diagnose atrial fibrillation, and electrophysiologists can help treat the condition.
AFib Signs and Symptoms
It’s estimated that up to 50-percent of people with AFib don’t show any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have regular checkups and screenings, especially if you are at risk.
There are many symptoms for AFib, but they may not always indicate that you have the condition. However, if you experience all of these things at once, you will want to consult your doctor. Symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain.
Ask your doctor about a diagnosis exam if these symptoms continue or worsen with time.
How a Doctor Diagnoses AFib
One option is to check your pulse at home. This is the easiest way to spot any initial problems. Count the beats of your heart compared with a healthy heart rate to see if there are any erratic differences.
The next step is to visit an electrophysiologist or other healthcare professional to receive a consultation on your heart health. Your doctor diagnoses AFib with various medical diagnosing methods including an ECg, Holter monitors, and echocardiograms.
An ECg creates an electrical snapshot of your heart. This painless exam records the speed and rhythm of your heart rate and the timing of the heart’s electrical signals.
A holter monitor is usually worn for 24 to 48 hours with electrodes placed on the skin of your chest. All electrical impulses are recorded and stored in the monitor. After you return your monitor, a technician will analyze the data collected in order to evaluate your heart’s rhythm.
An echocardiogram uses computerized technology and sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. Doctors will learn more about the heart’s size, shape, function, and any abnormalities.
Available Treatment Options for AFib
AFib may be responsible for up to 20-percent of all strokes, making treatment crucial. Catheter ablation or cryoablation may be more suitable alternatives if medication isn’t an effective treatment for your AFib.
Catheter or cardiac ablation is a non-surgical procedure that produces a small scar on a targeted section of heart tissue. This process blocks the abnormal electrical impulses causing your heart rhythm disorder.
Cryoablation uses a thin, flexible tube known as a balloon catheter to locate and freeze the heart tissue. This is an appropriate treatment for atrial fibrillation when medications and other AFib treatments fail to work properly.
The Heart Rhythm Consultants Will Diagnose and Treat Your AFib
If you’ve experienced any symptoms of atrial fibrillation, schedule an appointment with the cardiac electrophysiologists at Heart Rhythm Consultants. We will discuss your options so you feel confident in your treatment plan. Our expertise in the field will ensure positive results and a quick recovery.
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, Port Charlotte, and Venice, Florida.