Afib Treatment

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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.

Lifestyle Changes

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 Monitor

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.

Hybrid Ablation

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.

Watchman Implant

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.

Heart and Vascular Care for the Whole Person

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for people of all ages who are seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.

Connecting Hearts Support Group

The group provides education and support to individuals who have had a heart attack, are living with a heart condition or are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Screenings

Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Every year, more than 137,000 people in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists for their heart and vascular care. That’s more than any other health care provider.

  • Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville all have received Chest Pain Center accreditation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). This is the seventh consecutive accreditation for all four hospitals, which ensures quality for the treatment of heart attack.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Hospital all are recognized as having ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI accreditation.
  • Norton Healthcare has the most facilities across the city of Louisville with the ability treat a life-threatening heart attack.
  • You have access to more than 100 physicians and advanced practice providers with specialized training and experience in a comprehensive range of conditions and treatments.
  • Patients can make appointments at 28 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 sites in the region.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, a key location for Norton Heart & Vascular Institute services, has been recognized with a HeartCare Center National Distinction of Excellence year after year by the American College of Cardiology. This is the only hospital in Louisville to be recognized for this distinction.
  • U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best Hospitals ranked Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville as high performing in heart attack, heart failure, aortic valve surgery and heart bypass surgery.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital earned ventricular assist device (VAD) accreditation from DNV – Healthcare and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Communicate with your health care provider, renew prescriptions, get lab results and more through your free Norton MyChart account.

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