Atrial fibrillation treatment helps a condition that causes the heart rate to become irregular. Ordinarily, atrial fibrillation will lead to a fast heart rate. Patients can measure their heart rate to check for atrial fibrillation. While an average resting heart rate will usually be between one beat per second and 100 beats per minute, atrial fibrillation will often lead to a count higher than this when resting.
For some people, they may not even realise that they have an irregular heartbeat. They may be completely unaware of atrial fibrillation. However, for others, atrial fibrillation can cause symptoms associated with a high heart rate. These include;
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath.
Atrial fibrillation treatment options
Once atrial fibrillation is identified as the condition, there are treatments available that can help. Your heart specialist, also known as a cardiologist, or GP will be able to discuss the options that may work for you. From there, you will have the knowledge and access to the treatment that will be best to manage the condition and control the abnormal heart rhythm.
The treatment options available to you will depend on the cause of the condition but will fall under the following categories;
- Restoring your natural heart rhythm
To restore a regular rhythm, medicines such as beta-blockers or flecainide help to encourage a healthy heartbeat to return.
With this, your cardiologist will regularly review your medication and may adjust it. You may be offered new prescription if you receive harsh side effects. As innovative medicines come to the market, your cardiologist may recommend new drugs in development.
- Controlling your heartbeat rate
Another treatment option is to use medication to reduce the heart rate. Ideally, drugs will have a target to keep the heart rate under 90 beats per minute. Again, your doctor may prescribe beta-blockers to help. If beta-blockers cause unpleasant side effects, then other drugs, such as digoxin can help to control the heart rate.
If medication does not help, then your cardiologist may suggest a procedure such as a catheter ablation.
Need treatment advice?
Dr David Begley is a specialist consultant cardiologist, who can help to determine the best treatment and way forward for you and your condition. If you would like more advice about atrial fibrillation treatment, then get in touch to arrange an appointment.