Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

Medications

1.

Ask your physician about beta blockers. Medications such as metoprolol and propranolol may help to slow down your heart when it beats too fast.

2.

Try cardioversion medications, such as ibutilide. According to the Mayo Clinic, cardioversion medications can help your heart regain a normal rhythm. Cardioversion medications can be administered orally or intravenously. Ask your physician which method will be best for you.

3.

Take warfarin if it is necessary for you to take cardioversion medications. Warfarin is a blood thinner, which can help to prevent the formation of blood clots and stroke. You'll need to take warfarin until your heart's rhythm is regulated.

Other Treatments

1.

Undergo electrical cardioversion when medication treatments don't work. Electrical cardioversion requires your heart to be shocked in order to help the heart gain a normal beating rhythm. Once your heart has been shocked, you'll need to take medications to help your heart continue functioning normally.

2.

Undergo catheter radiofrequency ablation if you have abnormal tissue growths that are responsible for your atrial fibrillations. Catheter radiofrequency ablation uses a catheter that is threaded into your heart. Once the catheter reaches your heart, any abnormal tissue is removed.

3.

Have a pacemaker implanted, if necessary. A pacemaker may be necessary when all options fail, and your heart needs the device to help control your heartbeat.

Tips and Warnings

  • Immediately see a physician if you develop symptoms of a racing heartbeat (palpitations), chest pain, shortness of breath, or you feel as if you could faint.
  • If you have a family history of arrhythmias, get tested to see if you're at risk for developing atrial fibrillation.
  • Never stop taking medications prescribed by your physician, as atrial fibrillation can lead to complications such as stroke and heart failure.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you consume, as drinking heavily (having more than four alcoholic beverages in one hour) can exacerbate symptoms of atrial fibrillation.