TREATMENT OPTIONS

If it is determined that you have experienced episodes of atrial fibrillation (AFib), your doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment to help prevent another stroke from occurring.

These treatments may be used to help manage your AFib and prevent another stroke.

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes may improve your overall heart health. Your healthcare team may recommend that you:

  • Eat heart healthy foods
  • Choose a low-salt diet
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake

Medication

Medication may be prescribed to control your heart rate or rhythm. In addition, anticoagulation (blood- thinning) drugs are aimed at preventing clots from forming that can lead to a stroke.

Cardioversion

A procedure called cardioversion may be used to reset an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal. Cardioversion is performed either with medications called anti-arrhythmics or with an electric shock delivered to your heart when you are sedated.

Catheter Ablation

If medications or cardioversion don’t work or if you have side effects, catheter ablation is another option. During catheter ablation, either radiofrequency energy or cryotherapy  is directed through a catheter inserted in an artery, toward abnormal electrical pathways in the heart tissue. Either method scars the tissue and may normalize the erratic electrical signals to correct the arrhythmia.

Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

A medical device like a pacemaker or an ICD can detect and treat atrial fibrillation early and suppress the onset of AFib.

These quick and easy tools are designed to provide your doctor with information that may help guide your care. Complete them and take the answers to your next doctor’s visit.

Reference

  1. Liao J, Khalid Z, Scallan C, Morillo C, O’Donnell M. Noninvasive cardiac monitoring for detecting paroxysmal atrial fibrillation or flutter after acute ischemic stroke: a systematic review. Stroke 2007;38:2935–2940.