Our surgeons are well acquainted with operations designed to treat atrial fibrillation.
Causes of Atrial Fibrillation
- Age: As age increases, so does the risk for developing atrial fibrillation.
- Heart disease: Heart disease, including valve conditions, a prior heart attack, or heart surgery, are all risk factors.
- Chronic medical conditions: Certain conditions, such as thyroid conditions and sleep apnea, can increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol has been known to trigger episodes of atrial fibrillation.
- Family history: Atrial fibrillation is known to run in families.
- Palpitations or a racing and irregular heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Feelings of weakness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG measures your heart’s electrical impulses and is the primary test used to diagnose atrial fibrillation.
Holter monitoring: A Holter monitor is a portable device that records a continuous ECG designed to detect any heart rhythm irregularities over a period between 24 and 72 hours. The information gathered from the monitor is reviewed to check for any recorded irregularities over this time period. Holter monitoring is particularly useful when episodes of atrial fibrillation are intermittent and/or infrequent.
Event recorder: This is a device similar to the Holter monitor. There are two types of recorders used. One transmits signals when a symptom is occurring and one that is worn all the time. These recorders are usually worn for up to a month.
Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create a dynamic real-time image of the heart. This imaging is used to detect structural abnormalities that may be caused by atrial fibrillation and can detect blood clots resulting from this rhythm disturbance.
Blood tests: Blood tests are usually used to rule out thyroid problems or other metabolic causes of atrial fibrillation.
Chest x-ray: A chest X-ray may be used as a screening test to look for atrial chamber enlargement, which is a predisposing condition for developing atrial fibrillation.