About one-fourth of all individuals older than 40 will develop atrial fibrillation, or AFib, sometime during their lifetime. However, your risk for this abnormal heart rhythm significantly increases as you get older. If you experience any unusual heart symptoms, or you have a family history of heart disease, contact Consultants in Cardiology & Electrophysiology in the Greater Chicago area for an appointment to check your heart and be sure you’re healthy. Experienced physicians who are specialists in comprehensive heart care, including atrial fibrillation, are available at several locations.
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Your heart has four chambers, two upper chambers (left atrium and right atrium) and two lower chambers called ventricles. For your heart to beat properly and deliver a strong, steady flow of blood throughout the body, the muscles in each chamber must contract and relax at a specific rate and rhythm.
Each heartbeat begins from a tiny cluster of cells in the right atrium called the sinus node. The node generates an electrical signal that moves through the heart’s electrical system, triggering muscle contraction at the right time in each chamber.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, that occurs when the electrical signal starts somewhere other than the sinus node. As a result, the two upper chambers beat at a fast rate and in a disorganized pattern.
Atrial fibrillation may not cause any symptoms, but when it does, you’ll experience some or all of the following:
These are the same potential warning signs for many types of cardiovascular disease. If you or your loved one experiences any of the above symptoms, please contact Consultants in Cardiology & Electrophysiology to schedule an appointment.
The team of arrhythmia specialists at Consultants in Cardiology & Electrophysiology offer comprehensive and state-of-the-art care for atrial fibrillation. Their immediate concern is to determine your risk for a serious cardiac event and to diagnose the underlying cause of the atrial fibrillation. From there, they work with you to create a treatment plan.
Treatment for atrial fibrillation usually incorporates medications to regulate the heart rate, to get your heart back to a normal rhythm, and to prevent blood clots. When needed, you may benefit from a surgical procedure to eliminate the heart cells causing the arrhythmia, such as cardiac catheter ablation.
If you reach the crossroad where surgery is needed, you can depend on your doctor at Consultants in Cardiology & Electrophysiology to take time to talk with you, explain the procedure, and support you every step of the way.
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