Understanding Atrial Fibrillation
What is it?
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heart rhythm that originates in the top chambers of the heart called the atria. During AF, the electrical impulses of the heart do not start in the normal area. Instead, the electrical impulse starts from many different areas of the atria and spreads out in a chaotic manner, which causes the heartbeat to be irregular and disorganized.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation present differently in different people. Some people have little or no symptoms with AF, others are aware the exact moment they go into AF. Many patients report feeling heart pounding, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest discomfort. Inability to exercise to pre-AF levels and fatigue are also common symptoms.
Many people may find it quite stressful to have AF because episodes can be very unpredictable and can occur at almost anytime. Patients may be afraid to travel and attend social events for fear of having AF.
How is it treated?
There are two treatment approaches for managing AF:
What is Lee Health's approach?
We offer the most advanced and effective arrhythmia treatments to our patients. We perform more treatments for atrial fibrillation than any other hospital system in the area. In many cases, the treatments we provide are not available anywhere else in the region.
Who should I contact?
For questions related to cardiovascular care or services, email us at Hearts@leememorial.org.
If you have symptoms of atrial fibrillation or believe you may have a heart rhythm disorder, call us at 239-343-6350.
Having Chest Pain?
In a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number. If you are unable to do so, ask someone to call for you or to take you to the nearest emergency care facility. You may go to any hospital in your area for emergency care.