UH Specialists Offer Advanced Diagnostics for Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is a very common heart rhythm disorder in which the heartbeat is irregular and often very fast. In itself, AFib is not usually life threatening; however, it does put the individual at increased risk for stroke. In fact, people with AFib are at five times greater risk of stroke, especially if they have other heart conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or have had a prior stroke or heart attack. AFib may also cause heart failure and memory impairment.
Your heart health is important. Don’t delay care.Call 216-844-3800 to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with a UH atrial fibrillation specialist today.
An Accurate Diagnosis is Essential
The symptoms of AFib can come and go and be quite varied. In addition, symptoms may mimic other heart conditions. Therefore, if you experience one or more of the symptoms below, it is essential to consult with an atrial fibrillation specialist so that an accurate diagnosis can be made, and the appropriate treatment plan developed.
Symptoms may include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Light headedness
Tests and Procedures Used to Diagnose Atrial Fibrillation
Your doctor will take a complete medical and family history and perform a comprehensive physical exam. In addition, one or more of the following exams/procedures will be conducted to diagnose atrial fibrillation and rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. These tests may include:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
A noninvasive and painless test to measure the electrical activity of the heart. Sticky patches called electrodes are placed on the chest and sometimes the arms and legs. Wires connect the electrodes to a computer, which displays the heart rhythm in real time. EKG is the most common test for diagnosing atrial fibrillation.
- Holter Monitor
A small, lightweight portable device that is worn or carried continuously for a period of 24-48 hours while the person carries out their regular daily activities. The device captures and records the electrical activity of your heart during the entire time it is worn. The doctor will then analyze the results, looking for periods of irregular heartbeat and other signs that may indicate heart problems, including AFib.
- Event Monitor
A convenient, single wireless patch is placed on the skin over the area of the heart. It continuously monitors heart rhythm for up to 30 days. Some of the new technologies are WiFi based, allowing your doctor to check your rhythm remotely. Typically used in people with AFib that is infrequent or less symptomatic, patients are asked to push a button on the device when they experience symptoms. The device then records your heart’s electrical activity for later review. Some devices automatically record when an irregular heart rhythm is detected. When the designated time is up, the doctor will analyze the results, using the recorded information to help determine the cause of any irregular electrical activity in the heart.
- Electrophysiology Study
An electrophysiology study is a noninvasive test that records the electrical activity and electrical pathways of your heart. This test is used to help reveal the cause of a patient’s arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) and to determine the best course of treatment.
- Blood Tests
Your doctor may order blood tests to help rule out thyroid problems or to detect other substances in the blood that may be causing symptoms of AFib.
A noninvasive imaging exam that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to look for irregularities in the heart’s structure, size and pumping motion. Unlike an electrocardiogram (EKG), it does not measure electrical activity of the heart and is, therefore, used primarily to rule out structural reasons for AFib symptoms.