Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists
Cardiology & Vascular Specialists located in Las Vegas, NV
You can’t miss the rapid and irregular heartbeat that suddenly occurs during atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that increases your risk of stroke by 4-6 times on average. When you experience these concerning symptoms, you can count on the compassionate care offered by the doctors at Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists. The team provides the highest quality of care and individualized treatment that protects your health and well-being. Call the office in Las Vegas or use online booking to get help for atrial fibrillation.
Atrial Fibrillation Q & A
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is a type of arrhythmia that occurs when your heartbeat is fast and uncoordinated, a problem that develops when something is wrong with the heart’s electrical system. Your heart has its own electrical system that’s regulated by a specialized group of cells called the SA node.
The SA node generates regular electrical signals, which travel through conduction pathways and make your heart muscles contract in a controlled pattern. The signals make the two upper chambers (atria) contract, sending the blood they hold into the lower chambers (ventricles) before those muscles contract to push blood out of the heart.
When you have Afib, the two upper chambers (atria) beat in a rapid, chaotic, and irregular pattern. As a result, the upper chambers are out of sync with the lower chambers, blood flow is abnormal, and some blood stays in the atria.
The pool of retained blood in the atria increases your risk of developing blood clots. When a blood clot breaks free, it can cause a stroke.
What symptoms develop due to atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation causes a number of symptoms including:
- Palpitations, or the feeling that your heart is racing, irregular, or flip-flopping
- Fatigue and weakness
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Your symptoms may come and go and last a few minutes or for hours. Some patients experience occasional episodes, while others find their irregular heart rhythm persists or becomes permanent.
What causes atrial fibrillation?
Any problem that causes inflammation or damage to your heart can lead to Afib. Some of the most common causes include:
- High blood pressure
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Valvular heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Structural heart diseases
- Overconsumption of alcohol
Although you can inherit a genetic tendency to develop Afib, it’s most often caused by an underlying cardiovascular disease.
How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed and treated?
Your doctor talks with you about your symptoms, identifies risk factors, and performs a thorough physical and cardiac exam. Additionally, an electrocardiogram (EKG) is important for assessing electrical activity and verifying Afib. Depending on the results, additional testing may be needed to determine your risk for complications, such as blood clots and heart damage.
The first line of treatment for Afib usually includes procedures to restore normal heart rhythm and medications to control your heart rate and prevent blood clots. Some patients need additional procedures to block abnormal electrical pathways.
If you experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat, use online booking or call Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists to schedule an appointment.