The Full Spectrum of Treatment Options for Atrial Fibrillation
The goals of treatment for atrial fibrillation, or AFib, are to reduce the risk of stroke by preventing blood clots, normalizing the heart rate and restoring a normal heart rhythm. Once a diagnosis of AFib has been confirmed, there are a wide variety of treatment options that may be recommended.
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Medications for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
One or more of the following types of medication may be prescribed for stroke prevention, to help manage the symptoms of AFib and prevent complications:
- Blood thinners or anticoagulants are the standard of care for patients with atrial fibrillation. These medications reduce the risk of stroke by preventing blood clots from forming in the heart and traveling to the brain - a dangerous and common complication of AFib. Most patients tolerate blood thinners quite well.
- Heart rate control medications such as beta blockers or calcium channel blocks may be prescribed to control how fast your heart beats and restore it to a normal rate.
- Anti-arrhythmic drugs such as sodium and potassium channel blockers are used to restore and maintain a normal heart rhythm.
Non-Pharmacologic Treatments for Afib
Some patients do not respond well to medical therapies or have other health conditions that make long-term blood thinner use inadvisable, even dangerous. For these patients, the atrial fibrillation specialists at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute offer a wide range of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, including: