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Cardiologist presents atrial fibrillation update to Lock Haven Hospital staff

LOCK HAVEN -Clayton T. Jones, M.D., a cardiologist from the Hospital for Advanced Medicine at Geisinger Medical Center, recently gave an atrial fibrillation update to the medical staff of Lock Haven Hospital.

During the presentation Dr. Jones detailed:

r An overview of atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) and the physiology behind it.

r A-Fib management- rate versus rhythm control.

r The use of anti-coagulation medication for A-Fib.

r Rhythm control-the use of medications versus ablation procedures to control A-Fib.

Atrial fibrillation or A-Fib is the most common type of arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is a irregularity with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm.

A-Fib occurs if rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the heart’s two upper chambers-called the atria. In atrial fibrillation, blood pools in the atria and isn’t pumped completely into the heart’s two lower chambers, known as the ventricles. This in efficient flow and pooling of blood can increase the risk of blood clots and the potential for stroke.

SYMPTOMS

People who have A-Fib may not feel symptoms. A-Fib can cause chest pain or heart failure, especially if the heart rhythm is very rapid. Atrial fibrillation may happen rarely or every now and then, or it may become an ongoing or long-term heart problem that lasts for years.

Other signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation include:

r Palpitations (feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or fast).

r Shortness of breath.

rWeakness or problems exercising.

r Dizziness or fainting.

r Fatigue (tiredness).

r Confusion.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Treatment for A-Fib involves the resetting of the heart’s rhythm and the prevention of blood clots. Options for resetting the hearts rhythm include anti-arrhythmic medications or a procedure known as cardioversion, in which the heart is electrically shocked back into a normal rhythm. Doctors may also prescribe medications to control blood pressure once the heart is back to normal rhythm.

Your physician may also prescribe blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent blood clots from forming. More advanced cases may require a procedure known as radiofrequency ablation in which a probe is inserted into the heart and radiofrequency energy is utilized to destroy abnormal electrical pathways in the heart that are causing the arrhythmia.

“If left undiagnosed atrial fibrillation can lead to a host of cardiac issues and an increased risk of stroke,” said Raj Patel, M.D., president of the medical staff at Lock Haven Hospital. “Dr. Jones presentation was invaluable to the medical staff and increased our understanding of the proper treatment and management of A-Fib.”