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Atrial Fibrillation & Arrhythmia Main Content

Doctor holding a tablet with an echocardiogram

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a progressive disorder that causes the upper chambers of the heart to beat in a sporadic, rapid, or uncontrolled manner. This irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) affects proper blood flow throughout the heart, which can worsen in severity over time and lead to blood clot. Afib is not life-threatening on its own, but should be treated in order to control symptoms and prevent further heart complications like stroke. The cardiac electrophysiology (EP) specialists at Baptist provide state-of-the-art treatment options.

Baptist Heart Specialists - Baptist Health Jacksonville

Baptist Heart Specialists - AFIB Appointments

904.202.AFIB (2343)

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Conditions – Heart Rhythm Disorders

Your heart’s electrical system makes sure it contracts (squeezes) in an orderly way. When something interferes with your heart’s natural pacemaker, arrhythmias can occur. If you or your physician are concerned about your heart rhythm, the cardiac electrophysiologists at Baptist are here to help with the latest diagnostic tools and treatment options.

Conditions we treat include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, fullness in the throat, lightheadedness, dizziness, paleness, sweating, and in some instances, chest pain. You may or may not notice symptoms when the arrhythmia is present – or you may only experience them during physical activity.

Symptoms can be very mild or they may be severe. Irregular heart rhythms can be harmless or a sign of other heart problems. While mild rhythm disorders may not even require medical attention, a very serious condition called ventricular tachycardia, an extremely fast and chaotic rhythm can cause sudden cardiac death and requires emergency care.

When you have an arrhythmia, your heartbeat may be:

  • Too slow (bradycardia)
  • Too quick (tachycardia)
  • Irregular, uneven, or skipping beats

If you have heart palpitations, what can you do for self-care? Avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, take any medications prescribed by your cardiologist, report any suspected drug interactions or side effects affecting your heart rate or function to your doctor or pharmacist, and take steps to manage your stress and stay calm—anxiety is not good for your body. Contact a medical professional if you have been diagnosed with an arrhythmia and your symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment.

Progression of Afib

There are not specific “types” of Afib, but rather, a series of advancing stages that can occur if symptoms are left untreated – therefore, taking a “wait and see” approach is not always best for the patient. For patients with heart failure or a weak heart and Afib, it is very important to see an electrophysiologist because treatment of Afib can significantly decrease the chances of mortality.

These stages are:

  • Paroxysmal: Signs or symptoms occur spontaneously and heart restores to normal rhythm within 7 days of onset
  • Persistent: Irregular rhythm lasts consistently for longer than a duration of 7 days
  • Longstanding Persistent: Irregular rhythm lasts consistently for longer than a duration of 12 months
  • Permanent: Irregular rhythm lasts indefinitely

Treatment Options - Afib

Many options are available to treat Afib, including lifestyle changes, medications, catheter-based procedures and surgery. The type of treatment that is recommended for you is based on your particular heart rhythm and symptoms. The goals of treatment for Atrial fibrillation include regaining a normal heart rhythm (sinus rhythm), controlling your heart rate, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of stroke. Baptist Heart is proud to offer the full spectrum of advanced treatment options and cutting-edge technologies not often provided elsewhere.

Causes and Risk Factors

Some common causes of palpitations include abnormal levels of potassium; heart attack, or a damaged heart muscle from a past heart attack; or a congenital heart condition (present since birth, but not necessarily known). Arrhythmias also may be caused by caffeine, or stimulant drugs; heart or blood pressure medicines; tobacco use (nicotine); and other medicines such as those used for depression.

The most common risks that can lead to Afib include:

  • Increasing age (60 and greater)
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Excessive alcohol intake

Even people who do not have or show any of the above factors can be candidates for Afib. It is important to consult your physician for routine checkups to monitor your heart health.

Baptist Heart Specialists - Baptist Health Jacksonville

Baptist Heart Specialists - AFIB Appointments

904.202.AFIB (2343)

Request Appointment

12 Reasons to Choose Baptist Heart Specialists

  1. Top-rated EP physicians using the latest research and minimally invasive treatment options
  2. Full array of diagnostic tests, including tilt-table and EP studies
  3. State-of-the-art EP lab in the region’s only dedicated heart hospital
  4. Access to clinical trials such as the Left Ventricular Stability Lead
  5. Hybrid treatments in which EP doctors work with cardiovascular surgeons
  6. One of the first five centers in the U.S. to use the minimally invasive intracardiac ultrasound catheter for high quality images inside the heart
  7. Achieving greater precision with the latest 3-D electrical mapping systems
  8. Improved safety and outcomes with Thermocool SmartTouch© and Cryoballoon catheter ablation options
  9. Vitamin-sized pacemakers that are placed directly in the heart, eliminating wires
  10. Baptist Heart Device Clinic, providing constant oversight of patients using home monitoring devices or an implantable heart device
  11. Reduced-radiation or even no-radiation treatment options
  12. Convenient locations throughout the greater Jacksonville area

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Guide

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Atrial Fibrillation & Arrhythmia Additional Content Section 1

Meet Our Cardiac Electrophysiologists

Electrophysiologists are cardiologists who have completed specialized training of the electrical system of the heart. Our experienced EP specialists diagnose and treat all heart rhythm disorders and coordinate your care, ensuring communication is provided back to your referring physician.

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