Atrial Fibrillation

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Atrial fibrillation (afib) is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) in the United States.

Afib alone is not life threatening. But it can be extremely bothersome and sometimes dangerous, and it’s associated with an increased risk of stroke.

Treating Afib is Complex

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to treating afib.

At UVA, we've seen more than 3,000 patients since 2004. Our experience helps ensure that you get the most comprehensive evaluation and the most effective treatment for afib. 

Afib treatment helps:

  • Minimize your stroke risk
  • Control your heart rate 
  • Restore a normal heart rhythm

Treatment depends on how old you are, the seriousness of your condition and what caused your afib. Your care team may ask you to take anticoagulation or antiplatelet medication to prevent blood clots.

Ablation and Cardioversion

As you receive treatment to prevent blood clots, your doctor will choose one of two general strategies for treatment:

Afib patients with an increased of stroke may consider a heart device

Diagnosing Afib

We treat atrial fibrillation, or atrial flutter with the following options.

  • ECG: If you’ve been experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting spells, fatigue or palpitations or if your doctor discovers an irregular heartbeat during an exam, he or she may do an electrocardiogram (ECG).

  • Holter Monitor: Your doctor might ask you to wear a special monitor for 24 hours (a Holter monitor) or a month (an event monitor) if you’re having short periods of afib. Catching an episode of irregular heartbeat can help your doctor determine whether it is afib.

"I Haven't Missed a Beat"

Jonathan's heart was beating up to 250 times a minute. He tried medication, but that stopped working. He was afraid he'd have to give up his job as a commercial airline pilot. But, thanks to three catheter ablations at UVA, Jonathan's back in the cockpit and running after his four grandkids. View Transcript.