Afib Treatment

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Afib Treatment             
Taming The Beast

Before we talk about Afib Treatment options it may be a good time to find out a little more about this electrical malfunction of the heart.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) or Afib as I like to call it, is the most common heart arrhythmia or heart rhythm disorder and effects around 2% of the population.  It becomes even more common with increasing age.  It seldom occurs in those under 40 years old, but occurs in up to 5% of those over 80 years of age.  It's favorite age to strike "my age" late forties to early fifties.  I am 55; mine started when I was 51 but could have been happening for months or even years unnoticed.  It should be said Atrial Fibrillation is an electrical problem in the heart and not a plumbing problem like a normal heart attack or blockage.

Normal Heart Electrical Activity and What Goes Wrong in Atrial Fibrillation.

The heart is basically a large muscular pump that drives blood around the body. To do this correctly, the heart’s chambers, there are four of them, must be precisely controlled electrically so they work together as one pumping unit.

The normal heartbeat begins with the sinoatrial or Sinus Node a natural pacemaker located in the top right heart chamber (the right atrium). This electrical pulse spreads across both top chambers, the atria, causing them to contract. The contraction of the atria moves blood into the two ventricles, which are the main pumping chambers.

The electrical signal is delayed by about one tenth of a second by a special structure called the atrioventricular (AV) node, and then spreads quickly across the ventricles to cause them to contract. 

This extra filling of the ventricles by the atria is not vital, but does serve to "prime the ventricular pump" and improve overall heart function.

These atria, which contain the heart’s natural pacemaker, the SA node, are, the part of the heart involved in Atrial Fibrillation. The ventricles, the muscular part of the heart that actually does most of the pumping of the blood are electrically isolated from the atria, and the only way the electrical signal can reach them is through the AV node.

Normal heart rhythm is termed sinus rhythm (no, nothing to do with your nose)

Most people have a resting heart rate of between 60 and 80 beats per minute.   In Atrial Fibrillation, the atria contract rapidly and irregularly at rates of 400 to 600 beats per minute.  As luck (see GOD) would have it, the AV node will not allow that many signals through to the ventricles; only about 1 or 2 out of every 3 Atrial beats pass along to the ventricles. 

Even so the ventricles beat too fast, at rates of 110 to 180 beats per minute. (Mine was over 170!)

The Most Common Symptoms:

Feeling out of breath, reasonable since your heart is beating faster than if you were running a marathon.

Heart palpitations (a sudden pounding, fluttering, or racing feeling in the chest).

Lack of energy; feeling over-tired.

Dizziness (feeling faint or light-headed).

Chest discomfort (pain, pressure, or discomfort in the chest area)

In my case - inability to sleep lying down.

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment - Make It Slow Down!

The first thing you want to do is control the runaway heart rate.  This is done with drugs and even cardioversion. (similar to the crash paddles and electric shock as seen on T.V.)  The goal is to get the heart to beat in a unified, normal manner again.  This is called Normal Sinus Rhythm and is the Holy Grail that all us Afibbers want to achieve.

I have only touched on the simple mechanics of a complicated problem.  Please read on as we go into greater detail and try to explain the real "nature of the beast"  - Atrial Fibrillation.  Afib Treatment can be as simple as some needed lifestyle changes or it may even involve surgery or catheter ablation. 

The bottom line is you do not have to suffer from afib - get it treated and get on with life!


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Biosense Webster Teams Up with to Challenge Americans to Get SMART About AfibSM

DIAMOND BAR, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Biosense Webster, Inc., a worldwide leader in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, has partnered with advocacy organization to encourage Americans to Get SMART About AfibSM. The initiative sets out to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation, or Afib, and available treatment options to better support the estimated three million ...

New Survey Uncovers Critical Need to Break Down Barriers and Improve Communication and Education about the Link ...

CHICAGO, Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Released today, a new survey of more than 1,200 physicians, patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) and their caregivers uncovered important information gaps regarding ...

CORRECTING and REPLACING Biosense Webster Teams Up with to Challenge Americans to Get SMART About AfibSM

Fourth paragraph, first sentence of release should read: Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the THERMOCOOL® SMARTTOUCH® Catheter, the first contact force therapy available in the U.S.

AtriCure Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results and Updates 2014 Outlook

WEST CHESTER, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AtriCure, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATRC), a leading innovator in surgical treatments for atrial fibrillation (“Afib”) and Left Atrial Appendage Management (“LAAM”), today announced financial results for the third quarter of 2014. “We had a strong third quarter with momentum across all of our product lines in both the U.S. and internationally. We continue to see ...

AtriCure Receives FDA Approval For Pivotal Study to Enroll Non-Paroxysmal Afib Patients

AtriCure, Inc. , a leading innovator in surgical treatments for atrial fibrillation and left atrial appendage management , today announced it has received approval for an Investigational Device Exemption from the U.S.

Press Release

About AtriCure Inc. AtriCure Inc. is a medical device company providing innovative atrial fibrillation (Afib) solutions designed to produce superior outcomes that reduce the economic and social burden of atrial fibrillation.

AtriCure Announces Upcoming Investor Conference Schedule

AtriCure, Inc. , a leading innovator in surgical treatments for atrial fibrillation and Left Atrial Appendage Management, today announced that it will present at the Stifel Healthcare Conference 2014 at the Palace Hotel in New York City on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

U.S. Department of Defense Study Supports Favorable Benefit-Risk Profile of Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate ...

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced results from a U.S. Department of Defense cohort analysis of the Military Health System database ...

European Cardiologists Highlight Risk of Delayed Diagnosis for Patients with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation

Interim Data Reinforce Safety and Effectiveness of Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) versus Warfarin in Routine ...

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced interim findings from an analysis of two health insurance databases ...

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