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Treating AFib

How to manage and treat AFib

Atrial Fibrillation with Rapid Ventricular Response

Atrial Fibrillation is a very common problem with over 3 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year. This problem needs to be diagnosed by your doctor or a cardiologist to be for sure, and it does need to be treated by a medical professional. This is done through various lab tests and imaging is required to monitor the progression as well as help diagnose. Chronic atrial fibrillation can last for many years or for life depending on the severity and the treatment and understanding what atrial fibrillation is can be extremely important if you are concerned that you may be suffering from this heart condition. Afib occurs when the atria or upper chambers of the heart beat out of sync with the ventricles or lower chambers it is possible to have afib without symptoms, however it can still be a serious matter that should be treated as there are many side effects.

Since Afib is an irregular heart rate, it is necessary to understand that it can affect various people differently. Atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular responds is when the atria cause the ventricles or lower chambers to beat too fast. While there are many different arrhythmias out there, and most are fairly harmless, Afib can cause various different effects that can not only shorten your life expectancy if untreated, severe cases end in heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. Afib is extremely serious and should be spoken about to your doctor to ensure your health is in good condition and you can seek treatment.

Symptoms

There are a wide variety of symptoms that some people experience before being diagnosed and treated for atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricle responds. Some of these symptoms can be felt in the whole body, others are more specific to the heart or chest area. If you frequently feel dizziness, fatigue, weakness, or have the inability to exercise without feeling these symptoms, you should speak to your doctor to have them look you over. Other symptoms that can lead your doctor to a heart condition like atrial fibrillation includes racing heart rhythm or too fast of a heart rate, pain in the chest area, or shortness of breath whether you are exercising or not. These symptoms are important to discuss with your doctor, and you may want to consider taking your heart rate when this occurs to provide your doctor with a better idea as to what is occurring. Many people even suggest keeping a journal or record of when your heart begins to beat too fast, what you were doing when the episode started, and the symptoms you may be feeling such as pain or dizziness. Providing your doctor with as much information as possible can help to diagnose what is going on and allow them to respond quicker for treatment.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will explain each step of the process with you to ensure you are comfortable and in complete understanding of what is occurring. Knowing what is afib with rvr is crucial if this is a possible diagnosis for you. Your doctor will likely request you visit with a cardiologist for testing and you can ask your doctor or the cardiologist for more information if you feel uncertain. Knowing that afib with rvr is an extremely fast heart rate where the ventricles respond by quickening is just scratching the surface and your doctor will provide you with deeper details.

When diagnosing afib, your doctor will send you to a cardiologist who will perform various tests. They will want to possibly perform a variety of stress tests to see how your heart reacts to the stress of activity as well as perform an echocardiogram to watch the heart react. They will want to attempt to create the afib rhythm to the best of their ability in a safe environment to ensure that diagnosis is not only possible but quick to ensure proper treatment. Since afib can cause a wide array of other problems, proper treatment is needed to keep you healthy.

Risks and Causes

One of the causes of afib is the chaotic electrical signals that are sent to the heart from the sinus node or your body’s natural pacemaker. Abnormalities in the sinus node can cause afib with rapid ventricular response to occur. There are also many other causes such as high blood pressure, abnormalities in the hearts valves, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, smoking and other stimulants, lung disease, heart surgery, and more. Each of these conditions can cause you to suffer with afib and in normal conditions your doctor will catch signs of afib before you begin to feel the symptoms.

Other causes for afib or uneven heartbeat include a wide variety of heart defects as well as actual damage done to the heart. While these causes are rarer, they do occasionally occur and create lone atrial fibrillation. However not many complications occur with this, but when they do the symptoms and feelings within the heart are fairly the same. No matter what causes your atrial fibrillation, you should be treated by a medical professional to prevent more serious effects.

Treatment

There are many methods of treatment for afib with rapid ventricular responds available to stop afib before it becomes too serious. You and your doctor will choose one or more treatments for your afib including medication and in some cases even surgery. One treatment includes the resetting of the hearts rhythm to make the beat more even and can be done through a more invasive open heart surgery, while others are done with the use of various medications. The treatment options you will be provided will depend on the seriousness of your afib.

Electrical cardioversion is just one of many treatments for afib and is performed through delivering a shock to the heart through your chest. This is done by pads or paddles placed on the chest and will stop the heart momentarily before resuming its beat in a more normal rhythm. Patients are sedated for this procedure and when performed properly never feel the shock. Cardioversion through medication is another option available as medications are prescribed for anti-arrhythmia. These anti-arrhythmic medications assist in keeping the sinus node from sending abnormal electrical signals to the heart and prevent the atrial fibrillation from occurring.

Surgical Treatments

Depending on the severity and length of time you have been suffering from atrial fibrillation with rvr you may be recommended to undergo a surgical procedure to get your heart rate normalized. The first is catheter ablation where a catheter with an electrical node at the end is inserted through the groin and guided towards the heart where it can correct the hearts rhythm. There is also a surgical maze procedure where open heart surgery is performed to create scars on the heart to prevent the signals from the sinus node from sending the improper signals to the heart. Atrioventricular node ablation is a final alternative when medications and other treatments fail. This procedure prevents signals from going to specific points of the heart and a pacemaker is then implanted to correct the hearts rhythm when it becomes too fast or too slow.

Life Long Medication

No matter what procedure you undergo or the treatment that you choose to take, you will need to take blood thinning medications to prevent the occurrence of blood clots. This can protect you from the risk of stroke, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, and any other damage blood clots can do. Since this is a huge risk with any kind of atrial fibrillation, with or without rapid ventricular responds, it is necessary to ensure that you are following all directions provided to you by your doctor. Ensuring you are taking the medications necessary and seeing the doctor when you are supposed to will ensure that your arrhythmia conditions is well under control. As long as you are taking care of yourself properly, arrhythmia patients have been known to live a full life expectancy. While there will still be concerns that you and your doctor should discuss, constant communication should keep this condition under control and prevent ongoing problems in the future.

Risks if Untreated

If you choose to refuse treatment for your atrial fibrillation with rvr, then you may be at risk for several medical issues in the future. There are several risks that you will open yourself up to simply due to the arrhythmia itself as well as the over exertion of your heart. The uneven rhythm can cause blood to pool and clot in the heart, this can also cause these clots to be knocked loose from the place they have clotted and be pushed to other areas of the body. These free floating clots can then become lodged in the heart (heart attack), lungs (pulmonary embolism), brain (stroke), or in another part of the body to cause chaos. Other risks include breathing problems as well as the inability to do everyday activities due to shortness of breath, pain, and weakness.

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