Atrial Fibrillation - Information, Symptoms, Treatment Options
Read about the latest technological breakthrough for treating people with heart arrhythmias - performed on the West Coast only by CPMC surgeons!
Many people have occasional, irregular heartbeats that may feel like a skipped, fluttering or racing heart — called arrhythmias.
These heart rhythm problems occur when the electrical impulses in your heart which coordinate your heartbeats don't function properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.
Atrial Fibrillation - Causes and Treatments
Irregular heart rhythms can be common and caused by such things as stress, fatigue, too much exercise or overuse of alcohol or stimulants, such as caffeine or nicotine. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve minor rhythm changes.
However, damaged heart muscle can also lead to irregular transmissions of electrical signals in your heart and cause abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) in your atria, the smaller chambers on the top of your heart.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm abnormality in the United States - and there are several types of atrial fibrillation. Atrial Fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm originating in the top chambers of the heart (the atria). The electrical impulses that usually travel down the normal pathways, instead spread through the atria in a chaotic fashion causing the heart to beat in a rapid disorganized manner.
Atrial Fibrillation affects more than 2.5 million Americans annually. Until just a few years ago health care providers considered AF to be a "nuisance" arrhythmia with few consequences.
Above illustrates, on left, heart with Normal conduction with Normal electrical signal originating from the SA Node. On the right is an illustration of Atrial fibrillation, with Disorganized electrical signals originating from the SA Node.
Research has yet to uncover the definitive cause of AF. A number of other health conditions including thyroid disorders, valve disease, hypertension, sick sinus syndrome, pericarditis, lung disease and congenital heart defects may also be associated with AF. This type of arrhythmia can occur at any age, but its prevalence tends to increase with age and affects men slightly more often than women.
Cardiomyopathy is another disease of the heart muscle that occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump blood and, in some cases, heart rhythm is disturbed, leading to irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias. Usually, the exact cause of the muscle damage is never found.
To determine the cause of your irregular heart rhythm, it is best to schedule a consultation with one of the electrophysiologists at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC).
- How is the heart supposed to work?
- Types of Atrial Fibrillaiton
- Impact on your Daily Life
- Management of Atrial Fibrillation
- Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation: Pulmonary Vein Atrum Isolation
Atrial Fibrillation - Treatment Options
Treatment options and guidelines for Atrial Fibrillation will vary by patient, depending on your heart / cardiovascular health as assessed by a physician. Obtaining information on Atrial Fibrillation is your first step towards evaluating treatment options.
One treatment, for example, is Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Ablation (or Pulmonary Vein Antrum Isolation). In addition, the electrophysiology (EP) laboratory at California Pacific Medical Center employs the latest technology for improving the outcomes and the safety of ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF). In fact, our electrophysiologists performed the first EP procedures on the West Coast using Biosense Webster, Inc.’s CARTOMERGE Image Integration Module.
As on the best heart / cardiac centers in California and the United States at one of the top private hospital networks, our program offers state of the art treatment options for heart / cardiovascular disease including Atrial Fibrillation.
California Pacific initiated the nation’s first heart transplant service in a private institution in 1984 and has been at the forefront of heart and cardiovascular disease management and heart transplantation ever since. With heart disease affecting an estimated 58 million people in the U.S. alone, medical researchers continue to pursue better treatment options. Our surgeons and physicians provide high quality heart health treatment options for people in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, the USA, and beyond.
California Pacific's Heart and Vascular Center
California Pacific's Heart and Vascular Center is supported by one of the best heart hospital/center networks in the USA, offering quality, comprehensive patient-centered cardiovascular care by a team of top heart surgeons and physicians with leading-edge technology. Serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco and Marin County, as well as the entire Northern California region, our team has many of the best cardiovascular surgeons and physicians in California and the United States.