Atrial Fibrillation Care and Management
Atrial Fibrillation Care and Management
From detection and diagnosis to management and treatment, Crozer Health offers comprehensive services to care for individuals suffering from atrial fibrillation (AFib).
We take a patient-centered approach to the detection and treatment of AFib. Our cardiovascular specialists evaluate each patient as a whole person, looking at medical history and lifestyle factors in addition to diagnostic tests.
If AFib is diagnosed, our team works with your primary care and specialty physicians to individualize a care plan that best meets your needs. A treatment plan requires education about your condition and may include medication management or surgical procedures. Surgery is only considered when all other less-invasive treatments have not achieved desired results.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is a type of arrhythmia that causes the heart’s upper chambers to quiver instead of contracting and pumping normally.
Normally, the heart pumps in a well-timed fashion. The two upper chambers (atria) contract first, followed by the two lower chambers (ventricles). This coordinated pumping is powered by the heart's own electrical system and efficiently pumps blood out to the body and back. In AFib the electrical signals fire rapidly and chaotically.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
AFib may not cause any signs or symptoms and your doctor may discover you have one before you realize it. Noticeable symptoms of AFib don’t necessarily mean you have to worry though. These symptoms can include:
- Heart palpitations or fluttering in the chest
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and faintness
Diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation
Crozer Health cardiologists use the following diagnostic tests to determine if you have AFib and, if so, create a care plan to help you manage the condition.
- Insertable Cardiac Monitor: An insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) is a device about the size of a paperclip, which is inserted just beneath your skin in the chest area. The device constantly monitors heart rhythms for up to three years. Your cardiologist uses this data to tailor a treatment plan that can include medication, lifestyle modification or additional procedures.
- Tilt Table Testing: A tilt table test is done while the person is connected to electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood pressure monitors and strapped to a table that tilts from a lying to standing position. This test is used to determine if the person is prone to sudden drops in blood pressure or slow pulse rates with position changes.
- Holter Monitor: A Holter monitor is a device the size of a camera that checks for abnormal heart rhythms. The monitor, connected to electrodes on the chest, is worn on a shoulder strap for 8 to 24 hours while the patient engages in normal activity.
Treating Atrial Fibrillation
Crozer Health specialists perform the following procedures to treat heart rhythm disorders in patients:
- Pacemaker Implantation: A pacemaker is a small device that is implanted under the skin that sends electrical signals to start or regulate a slow heartbeat.
- Defibrillator Implantation: Defibrillators are electronic devices that sense and correct a dangerously abnormal heart rhythm; they can be implanted like a pacemaker.
- Radiofrequency Ablation: Radiofrequency catheter ablation uses radio waves sent through a catheter to the heart muscle to permanently block the abnormal pathway followed by the electric signal.
- Maze Procedure: Patients with atrial fibrillation may be candidates for the Maze procedure, a surgical intervention that involves creating scar tissue in the heart which disrupts the path of abnormal electrical impulses.
Request an Appointment
To request an appointment with a cardiovascular physician or for a non-invasive cardiac test at a Crozer Health facility, please complete the online secure appointment form below or call 1-866-95-PULSE (1-866-957-8573). A representative will get back to you within the next business day. We regret that we cannot take appointment requests for pediatric patients at this time.
Please fill out the following as completely as possible.