Atrial fibrillation

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Atrial fibrillation
Wed, 08-19-2009 - 1:16pm

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart rhythm abnormality in which the atria contact at a rapid, chaotic rate and cause rapid and irregular contractions of the ventricles. For people with atrial fibrillation, the traditional treatment route is to try various medications first and opt for invasive procedures such as open-heart surgery as a last resort.

In their latest guidelines for atrial fibrillation, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) list catheter ablation as a "second-tier" therapy - meaning physicians can consider it after just one anti-arrhythmic drug has not controlled heart rhythm, rather than exhausting all medication options. In fact, catheter ablation may allow people with atrial fibrillation to stop taking anti-arrhythmic drugs altogether.