Heart Care Center of Northwest Houston
Cardiologists located in Houston, TX & Cypress, TX
Feeling your heart fluttering or racing can be scary, but there are many effective treatments for atrial fibrillation and other forms of arrhythmia. The cardiologists at Heart Care Center of Northwest Houston have considerable experience in diagnosing arrhythmias and providing the therapies you need to regulate your heartbeat. They provide services at locations in Houston and North Cypress, Texas. Call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Atrial Fibrillation Q & A
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm). It affects the upper chambers in your heart called the left and right atriums.
There are two lower chambers in your heart, as well as the two upper chambers. The lower chambers are called ventricles. All four chambers need to relax and contract at the right time as part of a coordinated rhythm to make your heart beat properly.
There's a cluster of cells called the sinus node in your right atrium that generates an electrical signal as each heartbeat begins. The signal travels through your heart, triggering the muscle in each chamber to contract at the right time.
If this electrical signal doesn't come from the sinus node but starts elsewhere, the upper chambers beat faster and out of rhythm, resulting in atrial fibrillation.
What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation doesn't always cause symptoms, but if it does, you might experience:
- A racing heartbeat (palpitations)
- Weakness or fatigue
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Shortness of breath or uncomfortable breathing
- Coughing that worsens or doesn't improve
- Leg swelling
- Pain in your legs when walking
- High blood pressure
You might also feel dizzy or lightheaded and could pass out.
These symptoms are typical of many heart health problems, so if you experience them, you should contact Heart Care Center of Northwest Houston.
How is atrial fibrillation treated?
Your cardiologist at the Heart Care Center of Northwest Houston first needs to check what's causing your symptoms, as they could be due to other cardiac conditions. They have sophisticated onsite diagnostic facilities with an extensive range of imaging technology and other testing methods, like Holter monitors. You might benefit from having an implantable device called a Reveal LINQ™ Insertable Cardiac Monitoring System to provide more information about your condition.
Once your cardiologist confirms you have atrial fibrillation, they can create a suitable treatment program for you. Medication is one of the key forms of treatment, so you could be given prescriptions to help regulate your heartbeat, restore a normal heart rhythm, and stop blood clots from forming.
Direct current cardioversion, in which your provider delivers an electrical shock to your heart, can help restore a normal heart rhythm. For some patients, a minimally invasive procedure called cardiac catheter ablation could be necessary to destroy the cells in your heart that are triggering atrial fibrillation. Another potential treatment is pacemaker implantation.
If you're worried about any kind of arrhythmia or other symptoms of heart trouble, call Heart Care Center of Northwest Houston today or book an appointment online.