Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

Get the AFib Guide

Download our Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Guide for Patients and Families (pdf) to learn more about diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation. The guide includes detailed information on common arrhythmia medications.

When you’re diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib), you want expert care that helps you manage your condition and protect your heart health. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Bob and Patty Edwards Arrhythmia Center at Overlake.

What Is Atrial Fibrillation?

If you have atrial fibrillation, the top chambers of your heart—the atria—beat quickly, irregularly and inefficiently. As a result, your heart doesn’t move all the blood from the atria to the lower chambers—the ventricles—during each heartbeat. That means blood can pool in the atria and form clots. The too-fast heartbeat also decreases the total amount of blood pumped by your heart to the rest of your body. Watch our video to learn more about atrial fibrillation.

 

What Causes AFib?

Atrial fibrillation is caused by an abnormality in your heart’s electrical system, which controls your heartbeat. Normally, the heart’s electrical signals begin in the SA node—a cluster of cells in the right atria. If you have AFib, your heart’s electrical signals begin in different areas of your heart and travel in a disorganized way.

 

Symptoms of AFib

You may show no symptoms and discover you have AFib only after a physical exam, or you may experience:

  • The feeling that your heart is beating too quickly or too hard (heart palpitations).
  • Weakness, dizziness or light-headedness.
  • Chest pain or tightness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Feeling restless, nervous or agitated.

 

Types of AFib

Count on the physicians at Overlake Medical Center to diagnose and treat:

  • Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation – Short episodes of AFib that start and stop on their own in less than a week.
  • Persistent atrial fibrillation – Long episodes of AFib that need treatment to be stopped.
  • Longstanding or permanent atrial fibrillation – AFib lasting one year or longer, or AFib that continues despite treatment.

Advanced Diagnostic Tools for AFib

At Overlake’s electrophysiology laboratory, you and your physician benefit from a full range of advanced tools to help diagnose and pinpoint the origin of your irregular heartbeat.

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment

Depend on your Overlake electrophysiologist to explain your specific condition and treatment options. Then, work together to create a care plan that:

  • Prevents blood clots to reduce your stroke risk.
  • Controls your heart rate or restores normal heart rhythm.

Help improve your outcome by taking steps to manage your arrhythmia through lifestyle changes and regular medical care.

Treatments to Control Your Heart Rate

For mild AFib, your physician may recommend medication to control your heart rate. You’ll still have an irregular heart rhythm, but your heart will pump blood more effectively and you’ll feel better and experience fewer symptoms.

Treatments to Restore Your Normal Heart Rhythm

For severe symptoms, your physician may recommend treatments to restore a normal heart rhythm. Ask about rhythm control options such as:

  • Antiarrhythmic medications – Help your heart maintain a normal rhythm.
  • Cardioversion – Uses an electrical shock to reset your heart rhythm.
  • Catheter ablation – Stops abnormal electrical signals by eliminating small amounts of tissue in your heart.
  • Maze procedure – Creates scar tissue that disrupts abnormal electrical signals.
  • Device therapy – Uses a small electrical device, such as a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), to monitor and correct your heart rate.

Experienced Team, Proven Success

When you choose Overlake, you join not only your Eastside friends and neighbors, but also patients from as far away as South America, who trust us for AFib care and treatment. Our experienced electrophysiologists have more than 15 years of experience and performed well over 1,000 catheter ablations for AFib.

We take tremendous pride in our safety record, with a very low complication rate related to our procedures.