How to Treat Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib)
The specialists at Norton Heart & Vascular Institute typically start treating atrial fibrillation (A-fib) with medication. If medication isn’t effective or if side effects are impacting quality of life, there are other options.
Often, a combination of medical therapy, lifestyle changes, monitoring and minimally invasive surgical intervention can help improve A-ﬁb symptoms or even correct the arrhythmia. Our team offers the latest in monitoring; radiofrequency ablation; cryo-ablation; and hybrid ablations even for those who have had constant A-fib for more than a year.
Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Atrial Fibrillation Clinic
The team at Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Atrial Fibrillation Clinic is ready to evaluate and treat anyone experiencing this common arrhythmia. The team of providers and a nurse navigator create for each patient a custom treatment plan that can range from monitoring and medication to evaluation for advanced treatment options like hybrid ablation.
Nonsurgical Management of A-fib
Monitoring Is the First Step to Treatment
Depending on whether you have occasional episodes of A-fib (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) or continuous episodes lasting more than seven days (persistent A-fib), monitoring can be the first step in your care. The Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Heart Rhythm Center uses the latest heart rhythm monitoring technology.
The Heart Rhythm Center uses the area’s only remote monitoring support team, so you don’t have to visit the doctor’s office or hospital as often.
It is necessary to make certain lifestyle changes to improve the success of your A-fib treatment. Maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, and reduce how much alcohol and caffeine you consume. Make sure your other medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, are well-controlled.
A diagnosis of atrial fibrillation often comes with a prescription for medication to prevent and treat blood clots that may be caused by the arrhythmia. If A-fib is left untreated, blood clots can lead to a stroke. Additional medications may be prescribed to control heart rate and rhythm. For many patients, these can be the first and most helpful form of treatment.
Device-based A-fib Treatment Options
Linq is a surgically inserted cardiac monitor for patients with infrequent palpitations or syncope, or those diagnosed with cryptogenic stroke. The implantable device is the size of a paper clip and lasts up to three years. This long-term monitor improves heart specialists’ ability to diagnose the cause of palpitations or diagnose the cause of a cryptogenic stroke associated with atrial fibrillation.
In some circumstances, it is necessary for us to implant a pacemaker to allow us to use medications more effectively to treat your atrial fibrillation. While a pacemaker itself does not treat A-fib, it does allow us to use medications or certain ablation procedures to help treat your symptoms.
On-demand A-fib Educational Workshop
Learn more about A-fib and advanced treatment options. Once you register for this free virtual workshop, you will receive a link to watch at your convenience.
An electrophysiologist performs ablation by inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in the groin and guiding it to the heart. The specialist then carefully destroys malfunctioning tissue using radiofrequency (heat) or cryotherapy (cold). Each scars the areas of concern, so they can no longer transmit abnormal signals.
There are hybrid procedures that combine types of catheter ablations and those that combine ablation with surgical intervention.
If conventional ablation isn’t right for your condition or you’ve had ablation in the past and it didn’t work, our specialists may recommend hybrid ablation.
Norton Heart & Vascular Institute’s heart physicians have the most experience in the Louisville area providing hybrid ablation for A-fib patients with persistent symptoms. Our specialists are the only physicians in the Louisville area providing hybrid ablation for patients who have had persistent A-fib for more than a year.
If you have more persistent A-fib or have been told you have permanent A-fib, you may be a good candidate for hybrid ablation.
A left atrial appendage closure procedure may be an alternative to taking blood thinners if you have atrial fibrillation (A-fib) that wasn’t caused by a heart valve issue. Stroke caused by blood clots breaking free of the left atrial appendage is a serious risk in these cases. The Watchman FLX left atrial appendage closure device is an implant that replaces long-term use of blood thinners. Norton Heart & Vascular Institute has been performing Watchman implants since 2016 and has more experience with this treatment than any other hospital system in Louisville or Southern Indiana.
A-fib Care for the Whole Person
We offer classes, events and support groups for patients and families. To register for any activity, call (502) 629-1234.
- A-fib Education Workshop On Demand is offered to discuss the latest in treatment options and provide education for patients learning to live with A-fib.
- Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Resource Center offers education, support and resources for people of all ages seeking to improve cardiovascular health, including free classes with topics ranging from tai chi to living a full life with heart failure.
- Circle of Hearts is a free education series from Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Resource Center dedicated to teach women about heart disease.
- Cardiac rehabilitation: We offer medically supervised exercise programs and education for patients experiencing or recovering from a cardiac event or heart disease.
- Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free MyNortonChart account.