In most cases, your atrial fibrillation can be treated with a high degree of success. In almost every case, doctors start with medication and/or cardioversion (an electric shock that can be used to return your heart to normal rhythm). If the cardioversion doesn’t work, medication is prescribed. The medication is not a cure; it is only a treatment to control the AF. Many patients decide living on medication (that is quite dangerous and has serious side effects) is not a good option. If medication is not working or you want to come off medication, the next step is usually a catheter ablation. Catheter ablation has a success rate of approximately 60%, and it does not always address the immediate risk of stroke associated with AF. If the catheter ablation doesn’t work or a patient has other structural heart disease that has developed, it may be advised to have a surgical procedure to repair the heart and the AF. This procedure is called the Cox Maze-IV. If you have only seen a primary care doctor, general practitioner or family doctor, it may be time to seek a cardiologist. If you saw a cardiologist and still have AF, or want to come off the medication, it may be time to seek an electrophysiologist. If you have seen an electrophysiologist, and their treatment hasn’t worked, it may be time to seek a cardiac surgeon that specializes in the treatment of AF.
Although it is a complex condition, there are many ways to treat AF, reduce your risk of stroke, and live a happy, healthy, active life. Personally, my unique position is to take a whole-life approach to winning the battle. Beyond medical treatments, I firmly believe in, support and recommend incorporating a heart-healthy diet, exercise, and relaxation methods into your daily lifestyle. I have found this complementary approach is optimal. Best of all, you can begin taking action for anything non-medical right now.