Treatment Options Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF or Afib) can greatly affect your quality of life, energy levels, and physical activity. Treating AF is important as it may increase the risk of blood clots and stroke. AF as a disease worsens over time. Speak with your doctor about what treatment options are right for you. 

Goals In Treating Atrial Fibrillation

  • Relieve AF symptoms and improve patient’s quality of life
  • Prevent blood clots to decrease the risk of stroke
  • Control the heart rate to allow the ventricles (lower heart chambers) enough time to fill with blood
  • Restore the heart rhythm to allow the atria (upper heart chambers) and ventricles to work together more efficiently

The following Afib treatments may be prescribed:

  • Medication to control the heart rate or rhythm (anti-arrhythmic drugs)
  • Blood thinners (anti-coagulation therapy) to prevent blood clots from forming
  • Cardioversion (an electrical shock is delivered to the heart) during anesthesia, or through medication, to reset an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal
  • Catheter ablation to terminate abnormal electrical pathways in the heart tissue
  • Pacemakers and defibrillators (implantable) to detect and treat atrial fibrillation early and suppress the onset of AF
  • Minimally invasive (AF only) or open-chest (in conjunction with other cardiac surgery) surgical ablation to create lesions that block abnormal electrical circuits causing atrial fibrillation

Once atrial fibrillation is thought to be suppressed or treated, care must still be taken to monitor for recurrences of AF. Even if there are no symptoms, atrial fibrillation may cause a stroke.

Talk to your doctor about which treatment options are right for you.

Hear from a physician

Watch as a physician discusses the options for treating atrial fibrillation.

Deciding Not to Get Treatment

Atrial fibrillation can be a serious medical condition and if left untreated, it may lead to:

  • Blood clots causing stroke or heart attack
  • Fatigue
  • Heart failure
  • Fainting

To help prevent these serious events, it’s important to get your heart checked periodically even if there are no symptoms. If you are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, talk to your doctor about which treatment options are right for you.

Risks of Not Treating AF

View the following animation on the risks associated with not treating AF.

Should I get treatment?

Watch the video below and hear what this physician has to say about why treatment for atrial fibrillation is recommended.

Dr. Robert Kowal is the CRHF Chief Medical Officer at Medtronic.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.